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Tonight’s game has huge implications for the playoff and play-in standings in the West. The Pelicans are in 11th place, 3.5 games behind the 10th place Spurs, and need a win to keep their hopes alive for a play-in spot. If they lose tonight, it would be very difficult for them to make up a 4.5 game deficit in 13 games, especially since the Spurs would be 2-1 against them and own the tiebreaker. But if the Pelicans can defeat the Spurs tonight, the deficit will be 2.5 games, 3 in the loss column, and they will own the tiebreaker, so tonight is almost a must-win for the Pels. If the Spurs would lose 3 more games than the Pelicans for the rest of the season, then New Orleans could pass them up for the final play-in spot. Of course, there are lots of other scenarios involving other teams, but right now the Warriors, Grizzlies and Mavericks have an easier schedule and are playing really well, so the Spurs can’t really count on them giving up any games, especially the Spurs have the most difficult remaining schedule of any of the contending teams.
The Pelicans are fresh off a 35 point shellacking of the Magic, and the Spurs will probably be resting one or more players tonight. Having said, I like the chances for the Silver and Black. As inconsistent as the Spurs have been this season, the Pelicans have been even more erratic, and haven’t been able to translate their talented duo of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram into reliable competitive performances. The young Spurs players are starting to figure things out, and tonight, they hopefully won’t have one of their patented cold starts and keep it on the Pelicans. Lonzo Ball always turns into a 99% 3-point shooter against the Spurs, so Dejounte Murray will have to guard him closely. Keldon Johnson (Big Body) will probably the guy who has to guard Zion (Bigger Body) and Brandon Ingram will face Derrick White, who has been rounding into form recently. Hopefully, this will be a fun contest, and the Silver and Black will make gumbo of the Pelicans.
A Pelican is a majestic bird, with giant beaks and webbed feet. Some say they look absurd, but their skills are elite. They swoop from the sky and grab their prey, stuff it in their pouch and they’re on their way. But when their prey is Silver and Black, it’s not so easy to put into the sack.
One final word:
Go Spurs GOOOOOO!!
San Antonio Spurs vs New Orleans Pelicans
April 24, 2021 | 7:00 PM CT
Streaming: NBA League Pass
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