Pelicans’ immediate order of business: Fetch victory against Spurs

Mar 21, 2023 - 8:00 PM
San Antonio Spurs v <a href=New Orleans Pelicans" src="" />
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Every remaining game will probably feel like a must win to some degree here on out.

The New Orleans Pelicans have 11 games left on the schedule. At the start of day, they sit 12th in the Western Conference standings, but they’re only two games behind the Golden State Warriors, who occupy sixth.

Having lost to the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets over the last seven days, the onus squarely rests on the Pelicans to beat the San Antonio Spurs tonight and then the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday. New Orleans can no longer afford to drop any more winnable contests, especially with the Lakers and Utah Jazz, two teams above them in the standings, owning important tiebreakers against them.

“I mean it’s kind of all like that at this point,” Josh Richardson said about every game being a must win. “We’re not singling out any team. The Spurs are a good team. They play hard and they can beat anyone on any night. We’ll definitely have to bring our hard hats and execute.”

The Spurs will be without a number of key players tonight, including Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan.

As noted in Tom Osborne’s tweet, Devonte’ Graham is questionable to play. Thanks to an increased role, his averages are noticeable stronger across the board. Graham is averaging 15.5 points, 4.6 assists and 3.2 made 3-pointers in 13 games with the Spurs.

The Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson and Jose Alvarado.

In my opinion, the Pelicans are going to have to go at least 6-5 to have any realistic shot of making the play-in tournament. 7-4 or better would be much more optimal, given that would lead to the Pelicans finishing with at least a .500 record — all four teams sitting in the play-in picture are currently .500 or worse.

The road to achieving a winning remaining record must begin with a victory over the Spurs in a few hours time.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (34-37) vs San Antonio Spurs (19-52)

When: March 21, 7:00 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.

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