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Game thread: Pelicans can clinch play-in tournament spot with a victory over Clippers

Plus, New Orleans’ odds of keeping the Lakers’ 2022 first-round pick are looking really good!

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The magic number to secure postseason action is down to one.

With the Lakers falling to the Nuggets earlier today, the Pelicans could clinch a spot in the play-in tournament if they beat the Clippers tonight.

Another pertinent detail about the three-month slide of LeBron James’ squad is that New Orleans is suddenly poised to keep the Lakers 2022 first-round pick received in the Anthony Davis trade.

The Pelicans sent this asset to the Grizzlies last summer for Jonas Valanciunas and other parts in the Steven Adams exchange; however, protections were placed on this particular selection. In the event that the Lakers 2022 first-rounder lands anywhere between 1-10, New Orleans would hang onto the pick; if it falls in the 11-30 range, Memphis gets it.

As it currently stands, the Lakers have the eighth-worst record in the league, trailing the Spurs by two games in the loss column, and the Knicks and Wizards, three games. While the 2022 draft lottery in May will ultimately determine the final draft order, the odds are certainly in New Orleans’ favor of keeping it.

If this proves true, the Pelicans will send the Cavaliers’ 2022 second-rounder and their own 2025 second-rounder to the Grizzlies to complete the Valanciunas-Adams deal.

Postseason play and keeping a valuable future first-round pick. Who would have thought this outcomes possible during the first several months of this regular season? Yet here we are!

For more on tonight’s matchup, please give our preview a read.

Let’s Geaux, Pels!!

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (34-43) at Los Angeles Clippers (38-40)

When: April 3, 2022, 8:30 p.m.

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, NBA TV, 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.