Here are the latest Western Conference standings courtesy of ESPN:
With the loss to the Houston Rockets last night, the Pelicans two week slide continued, making it 5 losses in the last 6 games. Although they didn't lose ground (3.5 games behind) as both the Suns and Thunder also lost, their hope for a postseason berth dwindled a little further -- New Orleans is simply running out of time.
11 games remain and 6 of the opponents sit above the Pelicans in these standings. New Orleans needs to catch not one but two teams. Just how daunting is it? Say the Thunder finish 6-4 in their remaining schedule. That would force the Pelicans to close with a 10-1 record.
As it stands, the Pelicans are going to need to get help and lots of it. Fortunately, that window, however small it may be, exists. The Spurs obliterated the Thunder tonight and Oklahoma City still has 6 more grueling games against the Western Conference before getting to their next breather, the Kings at home. Similarly, the Suns have perhaps one relatively winnable game remaining, the Utah Jazz at home; their other remaining 9 games could all conceivably go down as losses.
So yeah, mathematically the playoffs are still possible, but reality couldn't look any more imposing than it is at this very moment. New Orleans fate lies in the hands of the opposition. To make matters worse, Anthony Davis seemed to have re-injured his problematic right shoulder again. Although he returned and was able to finish the game, it appears he's either going to have to sit out a few games or play through a bum shoulder.
I know the playoffs mean the world, but shouldn't the organization consider protecting the franchise player from playing in what seems like a lost cause anyways?