We have two young rising teams in Game 2 of the Western Conference. Although many expected the Los Angeles Lakers to squeeze into one of those two spots at the end of the season, the teams that did certainly deserved them. The New Orleans Pelicans used a second-half turnover, triggered by the trade that landed them CJ McCollum, to capture a spot. Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs continued to chip away at the lead from the Lakers for the No. 10 spot and picked up enough wins — coupled with a Los Angeles meltdown — to earn the final spot.
The Pelicans have the slight home advantage, but anything can happen when a playoff berth is on the line. It’s a win-or-go-home situation for both of these teams, so expect a hard-fought effort. on both sides. Here’s everything you need to know as they prepare to face off Wednesday night for survival.
Please check the subscribe box to confirm that you wish to subscribe.
Thank you for your registration!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
An error occurred while processing your subscription.
(9) Pelicans vs. (10) Spurs
- When: Wednesday April 13 | 9:30 p.m. ET
- Or: Smoothie King Center — New Orleans, Louisiana
- TV: ESP | Direct: fuboTV (try for free)
- Odds: SA +180, NOT -220; O/U 225.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured game | New Orleans Pelicans vs. San Antonio Spurs
Pelicans: New Orleans really flipped the script on its stage, and McCollum’s trade is definitely a big reason why. Since the trade deadline, the Pelicans have had the ninth-best offense in the league, and when McCollum and Brandon Ingram are on the floor, the Pelicans are scoring over 119 points per 100 possessions, according to Cleaning The Glass. It’s logic. The addition of McCollum gave the Pelicans another weapon — a diverse weapon at that — to make it difficult for opposing teams to defend. But it’s the playoffs, and while the Pelicans have been scorching for the past few months on offense, we’ll have to see how that plays out when the pressure is on.
Spurs: The Pelicans will just be trying to rack up a bunch of points against Spurs, but it won’t be easy given the more than capable defenders they employ in Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl. Murray will do his best to neutralize McCollum, while Poeltl will have his hands full with Jonas Valanciunas. It will be the toughest test this San Antonio team has had all season given their lack of playoff experience, but with Gregg Popovich at the helm, you can never really count a Spurs team. Speaking of Popovich, could this be his training last season? He’s accomplished everything under the sun: a five-time champion, an all-time winning record for a coach, and at 73 he may not be ready to stay in this rebuild. If this is Pop’s last game, he will retire as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history with one of the most illustrious careers.
I think the slightly more experienced Pelicans team will prevail against a Spurs team that might not be able to match the offensive firepower that New Orleans possesses. Although the Spurs have guys who can annoy the Pelicans, I just think there’s too much talent on New Orleans’ roster to overcome a good San Antonio defense. Pick: Pelicans -5.5