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Game thread: Pelicans have chance to improve Play-In tournament hopes with victory over Rockets

Eric Gordon won’t play. Josh Hart and Kevin Porter Jr. are game-time decisions.

New Orleans Pelicans v Houston Rockets Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

The Pelicans and Rockets tip off a two-game set in Houston tonight at 6:00 p.m., with a another matchup coming Tuesday in New Orleans.

It’s a real opportunity for the Pelicans to add a couple more victories, extend their win streak to four games and grab a hold of the 10th slot in the Western Conference.

New Orleans fell to Houston by a final margin of 118-108 on Dec. 5, but that occurred during a period when the Rockets were unusually hot and the Pelicans were still in the midst of figuring some things out.

Houston had won seven consecutive contests during that stretch, accounting for nearly half of their current win total over a 15-day span. The Rockets have been downright awful since, having posted just seven victories in their last 28 games, and the Pelicans odds for victory have increased within the past hour.

According to head coach Stephen Silas in pregame, Eric Gordon (left heel soreness) is out. Kevin Porter Jr. (illness) remains a game-time decision.

Josh Hart is a game-time decision for Willie Green’s squad.

If Hart misses the game, one has to expect that Jaxson Hayes will draw another start. Over his last three games in that role, Hayes is averaging 15.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks, shooting an astounding 87.5% from the field.

The Pelicans failed to take care of business a few months ago. They can’t let that happen again over these next two games against the Rockets if they want to improve their odds of squeaking into this year’s Play-In tournament.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (20-32) at Houston Rockets (15-37)

When: February 6, 2022, 6:00 p.m.

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, NBA 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 @OlehKosel.