Even though they have a losing record and are currently 11th in the Western Conference, the New Orleans Pelicans still have plenty to play for.
They are still clinging to their dwindling chances at the play-in tournament and have nine games to save their disappointing season.
The Pels are three games behind the Warriors for the 10th and final spot and still have three games remaining against Golden State to make up the ground.
But it starts tonight in Minnesota, a team the Pelicans have split with this season, winning the last meeting in blowout fashion.
Even if the New Orleans Pelicans come up short, the possibility of the play-in games has given their remaining schedule some meaning and added a touch of pressure, which will be great for the development of their young players.
Here are three things to watch when the Pelicans take on the Timberwolves tonight in Minnesota.
New Orleans Pelicans: Will the Pelicans play down to their competition?
Even though Minnesota has won four-in-a-row, they have been one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, so this is a game the Pelicans have to win.
Unfortunately, the Pelicans have a nasty habit of playing up or down depending on the competition, as they have beaten nearly all of the best teams in the NBA this season but have also lost to most of the bottom feeders.
This is not unusual for a young team but it’s something the New Orleans Pelicans have to sort out if they want to make the leap into the playoffs next season.
Good teams beat the bad ones most of the time, and the Pelicans have to start proving that they can impose their will on a team, play hard and and focused the entire game and hold a lead if they get one.