While the New Orleans Pelicans are on a modest winning streak, the Boston Celtics will bring even more success to the table when the teams meet Friday.
The visiting Celtics seek their ninth consecutive victory, while the Pelicans try for their fourth consecutive win.
On Wednesday, Boston was short-handed yet still rolled to a 126-101 victory at Atlanta, while New Orleans cruised past visiting Chicago 124-110.
The Eastern Conference-leading Celtics played without their third- and fourth-leading scorers as Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) missed his fourth consecutive game and Marcus Smart was sidelined by inflammation in his right ankle.
Jaylen Brown scored 22 points to lead seven Boston players that scored at least 14 points.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who can do a lot of things to help us win games,” said Derrick White, who had 16 points and 10 of the Celtics’ 29 assists. “We trust every person on this roster. When they come in, they do good things for us. It’s a long season. There are going to be injuries, people out. We’re going to need everybody.”
Boston shot 54.5 percent from the floor and made 21 3-pointers on 46 attempts (45.7 percent).
“We just played the game the right way,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “We played solid ball, and we tried to get everybody involved.
“(It’s) a credit to the guys for their humility, to step up when people aren’t playing and for when it’s not their turn, to be ready for when it is. Our depth allows us to play a lot of different ways and guys have fun doing it.”
The Pelicans followed a similar script without leading scorer Zion Williamson, who’s day to day after missing the last two games because of a bruised foot.
Like Boston, New Orleans showed off its depth with balanced scoring even without the missing firepower from Williamson.
CJ McCollum scored 23 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 22 to lead six double-figure scorers.
“We’ve been executing well, been following the game plan,” Valanciunas said. “I think that following the game plan, executing the little things, helps us.”
The Pelicans made 17 of 33 from 3-point range for a season-high 51.5 percent, one night after making a season-high 18 3-pointers on 38 attempts (47.4 percent) in a win against Memphis.
“We have to shoot some 3s,” said Valanciunas, a 6-foot-11 center who made 2 of 3 from deep against the Bulls. “We have to shoot it, (and) we have great shooters. We have to use them (and) shoot 3s and make it.”
Trey Murphy III made 5 of 6 3-pointers and 7 of 9 field-goal attempts and had his first career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
“Trey can shoot the ball,” New Orleans head coach Willie Green said. “He shoots the cover off of it. Guys get in the paint, and they’re looking for him, and he gets to the right spots.”
Second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram’s 16 points were nearly five below his average, but he had a season-high nine assists as the Pelicans finished with 30 assists on 43 field goals.
The Celtics are playing the middle game of a three-game road trip that finishes at Chicago on Monday. The Pelicans are playing the fifth game of a six-game homestand that concludes against Golden State on Monday.
–Field Level Media