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Mar 18, 2024 7:17 pm

Pelicans bring strong road record into matchup with Nets

McCollum Pelicans

Over the weekend, the New Orleans Pelicans racked up two more wins and reached the lofty mark of being 15 games over .500 for the first time since 2011.

While those wins were at home, New Orleans is one of the better road teams amongst the top six in the Western Conference and attempts to maintain that success Tuesday night against the host Brooklyn Nets.

The fifth-place Pelicans (41-26) are one win away from clinching consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2008-09, when they followed up a 56-win season with 49 victories and were known as the Hornets.

After winning just 15 of their 41 games away from home last season, the Pelicans open a four-game trip with a 21-13 road record. Of the top six teams in the West, only Minnesota’s 23-13 mark is better.

Since dropping three straight Jan. 26-29, New Orleans is 15-5 in its past 20 contests, with nine of those wins on the road.

The Pelicans continued their recent roll by following up Friday’s 112-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers with a 126-107 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. In the win over Portland, former Blazer CJ McCollum scored 30 points, reaching at least 30 for the fourth time this season, after being held to a combined 19 points in his previous two games.

“It was great to see CJ be aggressive, make some shots, and for the last three, four, five games he was missing easy ones and he knocked them down today,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “That was the difference in the game for sure.”

Zion Williamson added 26 and 10 rebounds and has scored at least 20 in five consecutive games and in 10 of his past 13.

The Pelicans cruised to a 112-85 win in the first meeting on Jan. 2, holding the Nets to 34 points in the first half.

The Nets (26-42) return home after a 1-5 trip that saw them fall 4 1/2 games behind the 10th-place Atlanta Hawks for the East’s final play-in spot entering Monday.

The Nets couldn’t hold onto a 10-point lead with about six minutes left in a 122-115 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. The night before, a 121-100 setback to the Indiana Pacers resulted in a players-only meeting about the effort level on a trip that also saw the Nets lose in Detroit and Charlotte.

“We all hate losing. And we had a talk (Saturday), just trying to get things right. And I think it was just a little bit more unselfishness across the board in terms of energy,” Brooklyn’s Cameron Johnson said. “Still got a long way to go obviously, but yeah, that was a better effort (Sunday).”

Cam Thomas scored 31 on Sunday and is averaging 26.8 in five games since returning from an ankle injury, but Mikal Bridges was 5-of-16 shooting and shot 29.7 percent (11 of 37) in the final three games of the trip.

–Field Level Media

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