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Pelicans have opportunity to bounce back into win column against Kings

Although the play-in tournament is a near lock, New Orleans needs to keep winning

Sacramento Kings v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

A single victory — or one more loss by the Lakers — will stamp the Pelicans’ ticket to the play-in tournament. It sure feels like a forgone conclusion. However, the thought inside of the New Orleans locker room should be to win as many of the remaining four games as possible.

The Spurs sit just a game behind the Pelicans. That needs to remain the margin at a minimum. If both teams go on to finish the regular season tied in the standings, San Antonio would get to host the 9 versus 10 play-in tournament game thanks to earning the tiebreaker after notching the season series (3-1).

New Orleans certainly doesn’t want to travel to Texas for that important contest.

The Pelicans and Spurs have matched up against one another a total of 80 times in history. This includes regular season and playoff games. New Orleans’ record? A paltry 23-57 — but it’s much worse if we only count the contests that took place in San Antonio.

6-32.

Six wins in 38 games inside the AT&T Center building? That’s one ugly winning percentage (.158)! The Pels’ home record of 17-25 (.405) vs the Spurs looks infinitely better.

For those who don’t believe in math, imagine the atmosphere in The Blender during the play-in. The electricity in the air would be special to watch and should be of great assistance to the Pelicans in keeping postseason dreams alive.

So in summary, New Orleans can’t afford a let down tonight in Sacramento.

The Kings have been poor all season, but the Pelicans haven’t had much success against them, winning only once in three tries. That needs to be thrown out the window though, as posting a victory on Tuesday is the only thing that matters at this moment.

The NBA trade deadline didn’t provide the immediate spark that many hoped it would in Sacramento. The Kings’ net rating is almost identical to when they had Tyrese Haliburton (-5.2) vs Domantas Sabonis (-4.7).

Sabonis, however, will not be of concern to New Orleans. Neither will De’Aaron Fox nor Richaun Holmes. They’re all listed as out for tonight’s contest.

While a quick glance at the schedule shows the Kings have won four of their last six games, please note the caliber of opponents and margins of victory. They beat the Pacers, the Magic and the Rockets, twice, by a total of 13 points. They were squashed by the Heat and Warriors.

Davion Mitchell is averaging a team-high 18.7 points over this stretch, with Harrison Barnes (17.2 points) and Damion Jones (16.7 points) also supplying plenty of scoring. Donte DeVincenzo, Trey Lyles and Chimezie Metu are all in double figures too.

The Pelicans will assuredly want to bounce back from a disappointing 119-100 loss to the Clippers. The Kings should serve as a timely elixir.

As Antonio Daniels likes to say on the broadcasts of late, don’t play with your food, Pelicans.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (34-44) at Sacramento Kings (27-51)

When: April 5, 2022, 9:00 p.m.

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, 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.