It has been quite the 24 hours for two NBA franchises that were written off early. The Spurs never had expectations coming into the season, and the Pelicans were quickly written off after a 3-16 start and former no. 1 pick Zion Williamson missed the entire season with foot injuries. However, both teams have come on strong since the All-Star break, and thanks to both teams winning last night along with the Lakers losing, they are now officially locked into the 9th and 10th seeds of the Western Conference.
With three games left, neither team can catch the Clippers for the 8th seed, so all that is left to determine is who finishes 9th and 10th, with the 9th seed getting homecourt advantage for the matchup. The Spurs won the season series 3-1, so they own the tie breaker over the Pelicans. The Spurs remaining schedule is tough, with road games at Minnesota and Dallas, plus a home game against the Warriors sandwiched in between. The Pelicans have a slightly easier remaining schedule, against Portland and Golden State at home and the Grizzlies on the road.
The Spurs shouldn’t be too concerned if they remain in 10th considering they have a better road record than home this season, have won their last five road games, and won both games in New Orleans. The goal for the remaining three games should simply be to stay healthy, get Dejounte Murray back, and maintain the level of play they have shown over the last eight games.
As a reminder, the winner of the 9-10 matchup will advance to face the loser of 7-8 matchup to compete for the 8th seed, while the loser is eliminated. The winner of the 7-8 match up automatically clinches the 7th seed. The play-in tournament will take place from April 12-15, and the playoffs begin on April 16.