New Orleans Pelicans: The Pels’ path to the play-in tournament

Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Lonzo Ball #2 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans got a bit of revenge last night, beating the Warriors in the second of their back-to-back games behind a monster effort from Lonzo Ball.

Lonzo has showed his biggest problem over the last five games, which is consistency.

On nights like last night, he absolutely looks the part of a future All-Star that the Pelicans should pay $20 million a year but on others he looks very average.

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Brandon Ingram left the game with injury, so the Pelicans’ win had a dark cloud over it even though it was nice to finally get one against the mighty Stephen Curry.

The question is whether it will matter.

The New Orleans Pelicans are trying to claw their way into the play-in tournament. If you are unfamiliar with how the play-in tournament works, here is a primer:

"“At the conclusion of the regular season but before the first round of the playoffs, the team with the 7th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 8th-highest winning percentage in a Play-In Game (the “Seven-Eight Game”). The winner of the Seven-Eight Game in each conference will earn the No. 7 seed.The team with the 9th-highest winning percentage in each conference will host the team with the 10th-highest winning percentage in the “Nine-Ten Game”. The loser of the Seven-Eight Game will host the winner of the Nine-Ten Game in a Play-In Game, and the winner of that game in each conference will earn the No. 8 seed.”"

So do the Pelicans still have a path to get there after last night’s big win?

New Orleans Pelicans: The Pels’ chance goes through San Antonio

There are basically four teams fighting for the final play-in spot, the Pelicans, Spurs, Warriors and Grizzlies.

The Pelicans and Warriors each have six games remaining while the Spurs and Grizzlies have eight.

The New Orleans Pelicans will play the 76ers, Hornets, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Warriors and Lakers, a pretty tough schedule as all of those teams are fighting for playoff position.

The Warriors have an easier schedule with two games remaining against the G-League Thunder as well as games agains the Jazz, Suns, Pelicans and Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies also have it fairly easy, playing the Timberwolves, Pistons, Raptors, Pelicans, Mavericks, Kings (twice) and Warriors to finish the season.

The Spurs give the Pelicans the best chance, as they are just two games ahead of the Pelicans and have lost four-in-a-row.

The Spurs also have the toughest remaining schedule, with games against the Jazz, Kings, Trail Blazers, Bucks, Nets, Knicks and two against he Suns to finish the season.

It is possible that the Spurs will only win two of those games, which will open the door for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Will it matter? The Pels will likely have to go at least 4-2 over the last six to have a chance, which won’t be easy, but with the Spurs floundering, there is still a chance that the Pels could grab that 10th and final play-in spot.

It would be a nice way to cap and up and down season and has at least given the young Pelicans something to play for down the stretch.

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