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Game thread: The matchup we’ve all been looking forward to for some time — Pelicans vs Grizzlies

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New Orleans has a favorable remaining schedule in Orlando starting tonight. Can they take advantage?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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.

For more on this evening’s game, check out our preview.

Geaux Pels!

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

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.