With the New Orleans Pelicans desperately clinging on to tenth place in the loaded Western Conference (5.5 games separate the fourth and 13th seed), we figured we’d take a look at this week’s schedule to see if there are any chances for the team to maintain or improve their standing.
New Orleans Pelicans (31-33) vs. Sacramento Kings (37-26) – Monday, March 6th @ 10 PM Eastern Standard Time
With the Sacramento Kings sitting comfortably in the top-3 in the West, it would take a collapse of epic catastrophe for the Pelicans to catch up to them. Still, the game holds a great deal of significance. Both because we are in the final leg of the season, so, inherently, every game holds a certain extra level of weight. And because the Pelicans want to maintain a strong in-conference record (they are currently 20-16 in those games) in case they need it for tie-breaking purposes.
The good news here is that the Pelicans blew out the Kings 136-104 when Sacramento made the trip to New Orleans in early February. The Pelicans managed this victory despite not having the services of their two best players, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
Dallas Mavericks (33-31) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (31-33) – Wednesday, March 8th @ 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time
This battle of bordering states may be the Pelicans’ most important game of the week. Currently slated at sixth, the Dallas Mavericks are only two games ahead of the Pelicans.
The sixth seed is significant, of course, because it guarantees you a playoff berth without having to go through the unpredictability of NBA Play-In Tournament procedures. It goes without saying that avoiding play-in festivities would be a huge bonus for the team specifically (don’t want to risk more injuries to this already injury-plagued unit).
The Mavericks have emerged victorious in two of their first three meetings, but keep in mind that one of those clashes (the January 7th rendezvous) was played without CJ McCollum, Ingram, and Williamson.
Also worth noting is that this game will mark the first time that the Pelicans are playing the Mavericks with Kyrie Irving as a member of the team.
Oklahoma City Thunder (29-34) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (31-33) – Saturday, March 11th @ 8:30 PM Eastern Standard Time
If the Dallas clash wasn’t their most important game of the week, this one against the Oklahoma City Thunder definitely is.
The young Thunder sit at the opposite end of the standings spectrum, as they are currently 1.5 games behind the Pelicans in the playoff race. New Orleans needs to win this game to keep the Thunder at bay.
If history is any indicator, this should be a more than manageable task. New Orleans has won all three of the two teams’ prior regular-season meetings in 2022-23. However, the caveat to that is that factoid is that each of these games were decided by four points or less. So, their fourth and final showdown will be far from a cakewalk.
Overall, all these games are winnable. It is just up to our team to execute.