The New Orleans Pelicans’ backs are up against the wall and they know it.
“We played a bad game last game, so we have to come out and improve on that and know that this game means a lot,” Derrick Favors said after shootaround this morning. “This is a big game for both teams, like I said, and we need it. The sense of urgency is there; we need this game.”
“I think it’s really just – we’ve just got to win,” JJ Redick said after shootaround this morning. “If we sort of take care of business on our end, then we feel like we’ll be in a position to be in the play-in game, whatever that looks like. We have to take care of our business, which is basically winning out from here on out.”
Redick feels the team must win out. He’s probably not wrong.
Fortunately, the remaining six games on the restart schedule will come against opponents with sub .500 records — an area in which New Orleans has enjoyed a lot of success.
Conversely, nearly all of the direct competition for the 8th and 9th seeds in the Western Conference (to secure spots in a play-in tournament) has much more difficult roads ahead.
|Team||Record vs above .500 opponents||Record vs below .500 opponents||Games remaining vs above .500 opponents||Games remaining vs below .500 opponents|
|Pelicans||9-29 (23.7%)||19-9 (67.9%)||0||6|
|Kings||9-21 (30%)||19-17 (52.8%)||3||3|
|Grizzlies||8-20 (28.6%)||24-15 (61.5%)||5||1|
|Trail Blazers||10-22 (31.3%)||19-17 (52.8%)||5||1|
|Spurs||11-19 (26.7%)||18-17 (51.4%)||5||1|
|Suns||8-26 (23.5%)||20-13 (60.6%)||6||0|
However, this chart is meaningless if Lonzo Ball, Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and the rest of the crew fail to bring the requisite intensity and focus starting tonight.
Speaking of the future face of the franchise, there’s a chance we could see him in the closing minutes.
I have a feeling this looks more like the Boston (1/26) game - he'll play longer into the 1st and 3rd and possibly shorten the 2nd and 4th starts and finish those.— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) August 3, 2020
That's my guess. Could be wrong. Maybe they only do it in the 4th. https://t.co/zd2gd7LWWa
For more on this evening’s game, check out our preview.
Who: New Orleans Pelicans vs Memphis Grizzlies
When: August 3, 5:30 p.m. Central
Where to watch: ESPN, FSNO
Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM