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Pelicans Hold Fast in NBA Power Rankings, Week 19

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation

Up one spot to 14.

Anthony Davis returned and immediately got back to his stat-stuffing ways. Putting up big games and getting back on the floor as soon as possible is a good way to repay his teammates for keeping playoff dreams alive even without him. The Pelicans are one game out with plenty of basketball left.

NBA.com

Steady at 13.

The Pelicans have Anthony Davis back and have the tie-breaker against the Thunder. But they're still a game back and have the tougher remaining schedule, with fewer home games (eight to 12), fewer games against under-.500 teams (seven to eight) and no more games with a rest advantage (rested vs. an opponent who played the night before).

ESPN

Up one spot to 11.

While Russ Westbrook was hogging all the comeback headlines, all Anthony Davis did in his first three games back is block 16 shots and run his total of 20-point, 10-board, five-swat outings to eight this season. The rest of the NBA has combined for six such games. PS -- The Brow turns 22 Wednesday.

Sports Illustrated

Steady at 13.

New Orleans has already matched its win total from last season, but it’s clear Anthony Davis won’t be content without a playoff berth. In five games since returning from a shoulder injury, Davis is averaging 30.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 5.1 blocks.

Yahoo! Sports

Steady at 12.

Guard Eric Gordon’s old shooting touch appears to be back as he’s shooting 51.6 percent from 3-point range in his past 21 contests.

CBS Sports

Up two spots to 14.

They beat the Grizzlies, which would have really helped them, had it not been for the fact that they lost to the Celtics. New Orleans is 13-14 vs. the East this season. If they miss the playoffs, that's going to be why.

Stats of Note

John Schuhmann mentioned rest advantage in his power rankings and I thought it was interesting. So I looked back through the Pelicans schedule. The last time the Pelicans had rest advantage, playing a team in the second game of a back-to-back while New Orleans had the previous night off, was all the way back on December 26th. They beat the San Antonio Spurs that night. They will not have such an advantage again this season.

On the other hand the Pelicans have had a rest disadvantage (playing the second game of a back-to-back against a rested opponent) five different times since December 26th.

December 27th at Chicago Bulls

January 19th at New York Knicks

January 26th vs Philadelphia 76ers

February 6th vs Chicago Bulls

March 2nd at Dallas Mavericks

This trend will continue until the end of the season. New Orleans faces a rest disadvantage, on the road, four times in the next 19 games.

March 10th at Brooklyn Nets

March 20th at Golden State Warriors

April 8th at Memphis Grizzlies

April 13th at Minnesota Timberwolves

To compare, the Thunder will be at a rest disadvantage just twice coming down the stretch and have the advantage once against the Utah Jazz.

This is before diving into the obvious differences in division. While the Pelicans are in the Southwest Division (all four opponents above .600) the Thunder reside in the Northwest Division (three opponents below .500). The schedule also broke for OKC as they face the Rockets, Spurs, and Clippers just three times a piece.

The Pelicans are a game behind the Thunder. Everything in the schedule says OKC will likely build on that lead in the final stretch.