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Pelicans remain down in power rankings, should tank harder

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Losses can lead to victories down the road. Just ask tonight's opponent.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors await tonight. In Oracle Arena, where they last lost a regular season game on January 27, 2015. Alvin Gentry was associate head coach of the Warriors oh so long ago and Monty Williams was fighting to keep his job.

The last time the Pelicans won in Oracle Arena? April 24, 2012. The Warriors, knee deep in one of the most shameless tanking attempts in recent memory (non-Philadelphia division), played Charles Jenkins 41 minutes and Jeremy Tyler 39 minutes. The loss to the then-Hornets was one of the most egregious examples of tanking according to Tom Ziller (and logical basketball fans everywhere).

But to get that seventh-worst record, they really really could not afford to win any more games. Enter the New Orleans Hornets, an awful team who is especially bad on the road, scheduled to visit the Warriors on Tuesday.

The Warriors, who have already traded Monta Ellis for an injured player, have shut down Stephen Curry and David Lee and have stocked the team with players like Mikki Moore (in the year 2012), led 64-61 going into the fourth. Klay Thompson, the Warriors' 22-year-old stud rookie, led the team with 16 points on 7-12 shooting. He's been the team's best player since the Ellis trade, without question. It's a tight game, he has young and healthy legs and ...

Mark Jackson benches him. For the entire fourth quarter.

The Warriors went on to lose as the Hornets pumped out an 11-2 run to end the game. Mission accomplished.

Earlier that very day the Warriors promoted Bob Myers to GM. Reams of internet space were dedicated to the tanking attempt ongoing in San Francisco. Golden State of Mind (the SB Nation blog) covered the tank standings while GrantlandUSA Today, and Bleacher Report all derided their efforts. The 2012 Draft forms much of the foundation of the current world beaters, including 40% of the famed Death Lineup. That lineup is still posting an absolutely ridiculous +50.3 net rating this season, best in the league.

Pelican playoff odds? Now non-existent.

Proj W Proj L Playoff % Draft Position
ESPN BPI 32 50 0.1% 6th
Basketball Reference 31.6 50.4 0.0% 6th
Five Thirty Eight 32 50 1% 6th
numberFire 31.7 50.3 0.0% 6th

Good news though! Each loss brings the Pelicans closer to finishing the year with the sixth worst record. The last time New Orleans finished that poorly? Anthony Davis' rookie year when they went 27-55 to finish with the fifth worst record. Right now the Pelicans hold a tenuous one game "lead" over the Sacramento Kings; and their final matchup this year on Wednesday could have significant ramifications.

NBA.com

Last Week: 23 - This Week: 25

Those "when scoring x points or more/less" stats can lack context, but the Pelicans' 0-30 record when scoring less than 100 points is fairly easy to explain. For the fourth straight season, their defense stinks, despite the presence of a guy who should be the league's most disruptive defensive force. The last team that went winless in games it scored less than 100 points was the 1992-93 Hawks (0-22).

ESPN

Last Week: 24 - This Week: 24

Some birthday week for The Brow. Even by the standards of the Pelicans' what-else-could-go-wrong season, and even as hot as Charlotte has been lately, you struggle to fathom how they could lose a game when Anthony Davis rumbles for 40 points and Jrue Holiday chips in 38. The Pels are the first team since Denver in 1983-84 to lose a non-OT game in which two of its players scored 38+ points.

Sports Illustrated

Last Week: 25 - This Week: 25

Jrue Holiday moves back into starting lineup. Holiday scores 92 points in next three games, including career-high 38. Pelicans score 342 points in next three games, go 1–2. Holiday goes back to bench. That kind of season.

CBS Sports

Last Week: 23- This Week: 23

They've lost eight of 10, which is great for their tanking efforts. Bigger picture, however, they need a complete remodel of their approach. The question is whether that's going to require new architects.