In the past few weeks, people were only looking at four main teams in the race for the seventh and eighth seed In the Western Conference.
The seventh-seeded Dallas Mavericks (29-24), eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies (27-25), ninth-seeded San Antonio Spurs (26-26) and the 10th seeded Golden State Warriors (26-28) were the four teams that people were looking at in that lower-seeded race in the West.
However, with less than 20 games left for each team, one additional squad has stepped up and put themselves into the exciting race for the last two seeds in the wild Western Conference.
The New Orleans Pelicans have now heated up and is slowly creeping up to the other four teams that are head of it.
The Pelicans have won three-straight games and are now 25-29, sitting as the 11th seed and only one win behind the Warriors and two wins behind the eighth-seeded Grizzlies.
The young Pelicans squad has been at times underwhelming this season, considering the high expectations everyone had for them because of the dynamic duo of Zion Williamson (26.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG and 3.7 APG) and Brandon Ingram (24.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG and 4.8 APG) along with the support of Lonzo Ball (14.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 5.7 APG) and the veteran leadership of Eric Bledsoe (11.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 3.8 APG) and Steven Adams (7.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG).
But now, with the season about to be over, they have started to pick-up the slack and have one last chance to make a run for the playoffs.
The Pelicans have reeled off three straight wins. First, they were able to take down the top team in the East, Philadelphia 76ers in a close contest, 101-94.
Then they followed it up with a 116-109 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In their most recent win, the Pelicans took care of business against the Sacramento Kings 117-110.
As expected, Williamson and Ingram were the main catalysts for the success of the New Orleans Pelicans.
The 20-year-old Williamson averaged 35.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 5.3 APG in that three-game stretch including a 38-point and a 37-point performance in their first two wins.
The 23-year-old Ingram showed that he’s no joke as well, dropping 26.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.6 APG and 1.3 SPG. He dropped 34 points in their most recent wins against the Pelicans.
Jaxon Hayes showed productivity as well in the past three games, averaging 9.3 PPG and 5.3 RPG, a definite improvement compared to his season stats of 6.3 PPG and 3.8 RPG.
The Pelicans are now one win away from tying their longest winning-streak this season with four-straight wins. They have 18 games left and are scheduled to take on the Knicks in New Orleans before going on the road to visit the Washington Wizards and then the Knicks. They’ll then take on the Brooklyn Nets on their home floor before going back on the road again to take on the Orlando Magic in their next five games.
With the stellar players of their two stars and having a somewhat easy five games coming up, things could look much better for the Pelicans in just a one-week span.
What do you think about the Pelicans? Do you think Zanos and Slenderman could carry them into the Playoffs? Sound off in the comment section!