Pelicans Playoff Hunt – Not Quite There

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Published: January 29, 2015

Life can often be a battle of good versus bad, but often this is very much a perception of our own realities. In the New Orleans Pelicans’ case their reality is very much a battle of inconsistencies.

We spoke a while ago of the importance of gaining ground in the Western Conference playoff hunt with their road-trip.

Instead of any progress being made they struggled. We all remember it: Knicks loss, ‘6ers too and don’t forget that Boston debacle.

Yeah, okay they did beat the Raptors on the road, but ehh, contrasting that against the poor losses it doesn’t really put a skip in a fans step.

Now the Pels are home and put together a little winning streak, four games to be exact!

Then they lost to the Nuggets.

Such is life.

29th Jan - Playoff Standings

So the Pelicans schedule is quite tough over the next week. They currently sit two and a half games back from Phoenix, which is only down one game since our last check in.

To make it clear: After an easy schedule for New Orleans and a difficult schedule for the Suns the Pels have gained a single game on the 8th seed.

Life won’t get any easier as New Orleans faces a slew of tough opponents, but really there are two games that will be important to ward off opponents lurking below.

29th Jan - Upcoming Schedule

Green = easy

Orange = medium

Red = Difficult/Will have to earn it/No-chance

Pelican’s upcoming schedule

New Orleans and OKC play two games next Wednesday and Friday which will be very important for standings later on in the season. If things are close, tiebreakers will play a part.

Over the next five games there’s not a single easy game for the Pels. Los Angeles is on Friday (the good one) and then a streaking Atlanta.

Most are home games, where New Orleans has a stellar record (15-6) so that’s good news.

The others upcoming schedule

I’ve decided to include Dallas on this since they have lost their last 4. Because of this they’ve fallen back in the standings. Quite significant considering they’ve been pretty healthy.

The Spurs contrast this as they’ve gone 8-2 over their last ten games. The champs seem to be making a move right when they need to while New Orleans and OKC seem stuck just outside the top 8.

The pesky Suns have somehow remained in the top-8. Their schedule has been weaker than a pot of coffee at 4 in the afternoon. But, I think we all expected them to move back at least slighty. Their run of opponents is slightly increasing in difficulty.

If you gloss over their schedule for the rest of the year you can tell that it certainly is no cake walk.

News and noteworthy things

San Antonio Spurs

  • Marco Belinelli is out 2-3 more weeks

Dallas Mavericks

Phoenix Suns

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Stay tuned for an update on the Anthony Davis injury. He did return against the Nuggets, but a groin injury can be worrisome.
  • Keep an additional eye on Tyreke Evans. He was feeling ill before the Nuggets game, but managed to play

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Kevin Durant was out against the Knicks (toe) and they promptly lost. Keep an eye on him as we head towards the back-to-back game against the Thunder.

Predicted Playoff Standings

29th Jan - Predicted Playoff Standings

Predicted playoff standings on 7th February 2015

If we move ahead into the future here is a glimpse at what I think is a likely outcome.

New Orleans splits against OKC, losses to Atlanta and LAC and beat Chicago at home next Friday. They stay behind the Suns still and don’t gain any ground on OKC.

There are some tough games upcoming, but if New Orleans want to get “there” they will have to find a way to win games more consistent than they’ve been accustomed to.

 

4 Comments

  1. Come On Pelican

    January 29, 2015 at 7:53 am

    “You are what your record says you are.”  Bill Parcells.

  2. Caffeinedisaster

    January 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    This is the problem I have with your color-coded difficulties.

    This is the Pelicans we’re talking about, so:

    Red:  Win
    Orange: 50/50
    Green: Loss

  3. jsgrayson

    January 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Caffeinedisaster Ah, so they’re going 4-1 over the next five then? I like this logic. Split OKC and win all the hard ones. Brilliant!

  4. 504ever

    January 31, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I still prefer Hollinger’s playoff odds: http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/playoffodds
    Good news, he projects us at 44-38.  The bad news?  In the West that only gives us a 40% chance of making the playoffs this year.  
    In my opinion, if we played in any other Division in the West, we would make the playoffs this year.  When you play 4 games against everyone in the only Division in the NBA with all teams over 0.500, you are at a disadvantage compared to all teams in every other Division.

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