The New Orleans Pelicans will look to avenge their loss to the Atlanta Hawks last week when the two teams face off at State Farm Arena on Tuesday. When they last met, Trae Young and company defeated the injury-plagued Pelicans 126-103.
The Atlanta Hawks are coming off Sunday’s 117-111 victory over the Golden State Warriors, which extended their winning streak to three games. This is their first winning streak since racking up eight in a row last month.
Despite not having their biggest stars on the floor on Sunday, the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Houston Rockets 122-115 behind Lonzo Ball, who had 27 points, nine assists and three steals for the game. The victory was a sigh of relief for coach Stan Van Gundy and his team, who are in danger of missing out on the playoffs if they don’t pick up steam.
Fixture - New Orleans Pelicans vs Atlanta Hawks | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Tuesday, April 6th, 7:30 PM ET (Wednesday, April 7th, 5:00 AM IST)
Venue - State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson are questionable for the Atlanta Hawks game. The duo missed the last three games for the New Orleans Pelicans due to injuries that have not fully healed, and there is little indication that they are close to returning.
For now, Ball, Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams have to hold the fort for the regular starters, but their combined efforts have to be matched by the New Orleans Pelicans' bench. Nickeil Alexander-Walker was in the Rockets game for just 14 minutes and scored only five points before leaving with an injury.
Thanks to the efforts of seldom-used Naji Marshall (12 points) and backup big Willy Hernangomez (15 points, 12 rebounds), the New Orleans Pelicans had seven players score in double-figures to secure the win.
As they face the Atlanta Hawks, the remaining New Orleans Pelicans players will need to approximate the effort (especially on the defensive end) that they put forth against the Houston Rockets if they hope to win their second straight game.
Key Player - Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball became the first player in New Orleans Pelicans history to record at least eight assists and eight three-pointers in a game after his explosive performance against the Houston Rockets. He had missed seven games prior due to a hip injury but showed no ill effects during his stellar performance.
This season, Ball has been averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. The former second overall pick will have to carry much of the leadership load for the New Orleans Pelicans as they face the playoff-contending Atlanta Hawks.
The opposing team’s defense will be centered on Ball, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to the added pressure without his celebrated teammates.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Lonzo Ball l Shooting Guard - Eric Bledsoe l Small Forward - James Johnson l Power Forward - Jaxson Hayes l Center - Steven Adams
Atlanta Hawks Preview
The New Orleans Pelicans game will be the second of a four-game homestand for the Atlanta Hawks, who are looking to sweep the season series. Their high-powered offense was bolstered recently by the trade deadline deal that brought Lou Williams to the franchise.
Some of the Atlanta Hawks' key players are dealing with injuries, although Trae Young and Danilo Gallinari were able to give it a go against the Warriors despite their injuries. Though Young struggled (3-of-11 FG), both Gallinari (25 points / 10 rebounds) and Lou Williams (15 points) thrived off the bench.
With John Collins, Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter out due to injuries, the bench will have to continue to pick up the slack, especially if Young struggles again because of lingering left knee soreness.
Key Player - Lou Williams
Coming from the LA Clippers, Lou Williams has been the sparkplug that the Atlanta Hawks have needed. In his three appearances so far, he has averaged 13.7 points and 5.0 assists per game.
Trading away Rajon Rondo was a wise decision for the Hawks, who were in need of an offensive injection off the bench.
The 34-year-old has proven that he has plenty of gas left in his tank to be an integral part of the team’s playoff push this season and beyond. Though his scoring average (12.2) has dipped by six points from last season, the three-time Sixth Man of the Year awardee looks like a perfect fit for the Atlanta Hawks.
No one on the New Orleans Pelicans side will be able to match him when he enters the game, making Williams the X-factor for the Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta Hawks Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Trae Young l Shooting Guard - Bogdan Bogdanovic l Small Forward - Kevin Huerter l Power Forward - Solomon Hill l Center - Clint Capella
Pelicans vs Hawks Match Prediction
Unless the New Orleans Pelicans can activate either Ingram or Williamson, there’s almost no chance that they can match up with the Atlanta Hawks in the condition that they’re in. Even with the home team having numerous players on the injured list, there’s just too much firepower on the Hawks squad for this to be a close battle.