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Pelicans have opportunity to clinch spot in summer league championship game with sizable win over Lakers

Regardless of tonight’s outcome, the vibes surrounding the New Orleans organization remain good

2022 Las Vegas Summer League - Washington Wizards v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers stand in the way of the New Orleans Pelicans. Again.

If the Pelicans can knock off the Lakers by at least five points in the last summer league matchup on Friday’s schedule, they could find themselves in the championship game, pending other earlier outcomes.

So asides from feeding our inner petty desires, there’s another reason to hope for New Orleans running up a victorious score against Los Angeles.

While the exhibition season doesn’t compare to the regular campaign, of course, squeezing into the summer league championship game would be a nice accomplishment for an organization that continues to trend upwards.

After several questionable years to begin the David Griffin era, New Orleans has enjoyed a nice string of success. Willie Green was hired. The 2021 Summer Pels went a perfect 5-0 in Las Vegas. After a 3-16 start to the last regular season, the Pelicans went 33-30 the rest of the way. They won both play-in games to advance to the playoffs, where they pushed the Phoenix Suns to six games as Brandon Ingram ascended to another level. Then in free agency, Zion Williamson agreed to a five-year contract extension.

2022 Las Vegas Summer League - Washington Wizards v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The vibes are good and the latest positive example may be further proof of the front office indeed possessing a knack of finding NBA talent in and outside of the draft — not just that the Pelicans core has been caught by cameras sitting courtside in support of their summer brethren.

Injuries have robbed onlookers of gleaming the full potential of Dyson Daniels and E.J. Liddell, but a number of undrafted Summer Pelicans have acquitted themselves well in addition to Trey Murphy and Jared Harper. Dereon Seabron, Daeqwon Plowden and Deividas Sirvydis shined in Wednesday’s win, and to be completely honest, Tyrique Jones, Zach Hankins and Elijah Stewart figured positively too.

The players have looked good individually; however, watching them band together and play as a team suggests the coaching staff, led by Jarron Collins, is deserving of plenty of accolade too.

All of this is to say, the Summer Pelicans will soon be gone and we’ve been reminded once again that this is a New Orleans organization on the rise.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (2-1) vs Los Angeles Lakers (1-2)

When: July 15, 10:00 p.m. Central

Where to watch: ESPN 2

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.