Game Preview: Pelicans take on Hornets amid playoff push

CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans. Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans. Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Here is everything you need to know before the Pelicans’ matchup against the Charlotte Hornets.

As we enter the final leg of the season, every game matters for the New Orleans Pelicans. Tonight, New Orleans hosts the Charlotte Hornets in hopes of picking up their third straight win and moving up in the Western Conference standings.

For the Pelicans, this should be considered a “must-win” game.

While they won’t be eliminated with a loss tonight, their opponents will get tougher. To close out their season, New Orleans will go on the road to face the likes of the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Golden State Warriors. The Hornets are arguably the most winnable game left on the Pelicans’ schedule.

However, Charlotte won’t go down easy. In their most recent game, the Hornets completed a nine-point fourth-quarter comeback and defeated the Indiana Pacers 115-109.

Willie Green and this squad must come out ready to play, as a win will aid their playoff crusade significantly. Before tipoff, here is everything you need to know for tonight’s matchup against the Charlotte Hornets.

Projected Starting Lineup


G- CJ McCollum

G- Trey Murphy

F- Herb Jones

F- Brandon Ingram

C- Jonas Valanciunas


G- Terry Rozier

F- PJ Washington

F- Gordon Hayward

F- Kelly Oubre

C- Nick Richards



F- Zion Williamson

G- Jose Alvarado


F- Cody Martin

G- LaMelo Ball

F- Mark Williams

Key To Victory

If the Pelicans want to secure their third win in as many game, they need to continue to play aggressively.

After dropping a tough loss in Houston last week, New Orleans has had two impressive showings against the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. Players were getting to their spots offensively and frequently attacked the basket. On the other side of the ball, Wille Green and his squad defended the paint with excellence and got stops when needed. The Pelicans need to maintain this level of two-way play tonight.

Despite beating the Pacers Monday night, the Hornets seem to have their eyes set on the NBA draft and potentially earning the No. 1 pick, meaning their attention won’t solely be tied toward this game.

On the flip side, New Orleans needs to win. With ten games left and only three games separating the No. 12 seed and the No. 4 seed, every win will be extremely important.

Something To Watch

New Orleans enters tonight’s game as the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference. Here is what needs to go right for the Pelicans to move up in the standings.

First, the Pelicans need to defeat the Hornets. This is pretty self-explanatory. New Orleans needs to win in order to improve their current seed in the standings.

Next, the Clippers need to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder (36-36) currently hold the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, while the Clippers (38-35) hold the No. 5 seed. A Thunder loss means they would drop behind the Pelicans in the Western Conference standings, as they have the same record, and the tiebreaker is in New Orleans’ favor (the pelicans have beat the Thunder in three of their four regular season matchups).

If both of these potential outcomes come to fruition, the Pelicans will be in a far better position standings-wise at the end of the day.


Tonight, I believe the Pelicans will continue the aggressiveness and intensity they have been playing with of late. As this team fights to earn a spot in the post-season, I predict they will come out hot and take care of business against Charlotte.

Pelicans 119, Hornets 101

Next. New Orleans Pelicans all-time draft bust starting 5. dark