Tune-In Tidbits: ESPN Friday, Feb. 21, 2020
Denver Nuggets (38-17) at Oklahoma City Thunder (33-22), 8:00 ET, ESPN
The Nuggets (23-11) and Thunder (24-13) rank third and fifth, respectively, in win percentage in clutch games(score within five points in final five minutes). The Thunder lead the NBA in clutch shooting (51.1%) and clutch net rating (plus-27.1). Chris Paul (128) and Nikola Jokic (109) rank first and second, respectively, in individual clutch scoring.
Denver won the first meeting of the season with Oklahoma City, 110-102 on Dec. 14, behind a triple-double from Nikola Jokic with game highs of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists. Jokic has 11 triple-doubles on the season, one shy of LeBron James and Luka Doncic for the league lead. He has 39 for his career, which already ranks 10th all-time.
Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel were the primary defenders on Nikola Jokic in the first meeting this season. Jokic had 15 points on 6-7 shooting and five assists in 5:26 of matchup time against Adams and had four points on 2-3 shooting with one assist and two turnovers in 3:29 against Noel.
The Nuggets lead the NBA in offensive rebound rate at 29.9%, while the Thunder sit 29th in the league at 24.2%. In turn, the Nuggets rank fifth in the league with 14.3 second-chance points per game, while the Thunder lead the league in opponent fast break points allowed, giving up just 10.4 per game.
Denver has the second-most used five-man lineup in the league as Paul Millsap, Will Barton, Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have logged 577 minutes together over 29 games. That group has a net rating of plus-12.1, which is the sixth-best mark of the 27 lineups that have played at least 200 minutes together this season.
New Orleans Pelicans (23-32) at Portland Trail Blazers (25-31), 10:30 ET, ESPN
Since Zion Williamson’s debut on Jan. 22, the Pelicans rank seventh in the NBA with a plus-4.7 net rating. The Pelicans have a net rating of plus-12.8 when Zion is on the floor, as opposed to minus-3.3 when he sits.
The Pelicans lead the league in catch-and-shoot points per game at 33.7. Both JJ Redick and Brandon Ingram rank in the top 10 among players, with 6.8 and 6.7 points per game, respectively. Redick’s 47.6 FG% on catch-and-shoots is the highest among all players in the top 20 in catch-and-shoot scoring.
Trevor Ariza has put up shooting numbers of 50.6 FG%, 39.5 3P FG%, and 93.3 FT% in his 11 games on the Blazers. No qualified player has put up those percentages this season.
The Blazers are expected to be without Damian Lillard as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. This season, the Blazers offense has been 11.4 points per 100 possessions better with Lillard on the court (114.0 offensive rating) compared to when he’s off the court (102.6 offensive rating). That is the equivalent of going from the second-ranked offense to the 30th-ranked offense in the league.
No player covers more distance in a game than Portland’s CJ McCollum at 2.74 miles per game. New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday ranks eighth at 2.64 miles per game.