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NBA Preview: Pelicans must beat Wizards to keep puncher’s chance of reaching play-in tournament

With Washington severely undermanned, New Orleans needs to prevail.

2020 NBA All-Star - Rising Stars Media Availability and Practice Photo by Tyler Kaufman/NBAE via Getty Images

Are the New Orleans Pelicans fast becoming one of the NBA Campus’ most disappointing teams?

After falling behind by as much as 42 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, the Pelicans gave their fan base hope with a much-needed ten-point victory against the Memphis Grizzlies only to then give up 49 first QUARTER points to the Sacramento Kings. The same Kings that were winless through three games entering the matchup.

Bogdan Bogdanovic who had shot 1 of 15 against the Denver Nuggets beat his career-high (previously 31) before the fourth quarter!

With Zion Williamson rounding into form and seeing his minutes increase, the starting lineup that ranked first in the NBA in net rating prior to the Covid-19 shutdown should have been that reliable pillar. Instead, it’s often disappointed.

Why the inconsistencies? Can the Pelicans not place two solid efforts in back-to-back matchups? Despite an entire roster overhaul, why do the Pelicans still display such alarming complacency?

Now, they face yet another do-or-die scenario at the hands of the undermanned Washington Wizards. These Wizards have often embarrassed in their brief appearances on campus. They’ve slipped from ninth to 10th in win-loss percentage out East, falling behind the Charlotte Hornets who were not invited to Orlando.

In the absences of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, the Wizards have been led by a star-studded group headlined by Thomas Bryant, Jerome Robinson, Troy Brown Jr. and Ish Smith. They’ve lost their four matchups to the Suns, Nets, 76ers and Pacers by an average of 10.3 points per game.

If the Pelicans can’t win this game, they can forget about challenging for a play-in tournament. They might as well pack up, head home, and begin asking themselves some difficult questions.

Geaux Pels!

Who: Washington Wizards vs New Orleans Pelicans

When: August 7, 7:00 p.m. Central

Where to watch: FSNO, League Pass

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 @PrestonEllis.