Not long ago, Western Conference teams couldn’t wait to face opponents from the East, because it often meant a very good chance at a victory. Things have changed drastically around the NBA in 2021-22, though, as New Orleans can attest. The Pelicans have yet to post an interconference victory in eight tries this season, after dropping a one-sided contest at Indiana on Saturday. During Week 5 of the schedule alone, New Orleans lost games in East cities Washington, Miami and Indianapolis.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Indiana’s Myles Turner threw down a follow dunk to give the hosts an 84-60 lead with four-plus minutes remaining in the third quarter. Malcolm Brogdon then breezed for a layup to provide the Pacers with their biggest advantage to that stage at 26.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jonas Valanciunas has been asked to do a lot in the first 18 games, but consistently produces. He and Brandon Ingram were the only Pelicans to reach double digits in scoring through three quarters, but neither was on the floor in the fourth, with the outcome firmly decided.
BY THE NUMBERS
38-18: Indiana third quarter edge, which broke open what was a 12-point margin at halftime.
6/18: New Orleans three-point shooting. Those were season lows for the Pelicans in both categories.
REVISITING FANDUEL KEYS TO THE GAME
MORE LOCKDOWN DEFENSE
Indiana nearly had 100 points through three quarters, after New Orleans only allowed 81 points all game Friday vs. the Clippers.
POINT GUARDS STEPPING UP
Kira Lewis Jr. was one of the few individual bright spots for New Orleans, playing well for a second straight night, while starter Tomas Satoransky had a quiet evening, filling in for Devonte’ Graham (foot soreness).
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Valanciunas vs. Turner was advantage New Orleans from a statistical standpoint, but Turner impacted the game with a pair of blocks and other interior defense.
Through four weeks of Saturday breakout-scorer picks, first-year TV/radio sideline reporter Erin Summers has seized a lead. Summers won for the third time by picking Lewis, who more than doubled his season scoring average of 5.1 points Saturday. The other choices of Satoransky (Daniel Sallerson), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Jim Eichenhofer) and Herbert Jones (fans pick on Twitter) scored just eight points combined.
#SaturdayScorer standings: Erin 3, Jim 1, Daniel 0, Fans 0