You would not have expected these teams to have identical records at this point in the year, but here we are. After Memphis took a loss last night, the winner of this one will move a little closer to getting back into the No. 8 spot.
And for whichever club that fails to qualify for the postseason, it will be a long offseason. Given that they both started horribly and bounced back, it’s still not terrible to see them both in a position to try and sneak in as the final seed.
Sacramento has a lot more turmoil than they have seemingly let on publicly. This decision to bring Buddy Hield off the bench may be helping them to win a few more games, but it’s important to remember they paid him big money in the fall, and his deal hasn’t even kicked in yet.
And they are starting Bogdan Bogdanovic instead, who is going to be a free agent this summer. They are a wing-heavy team at this stage, but it seems Hield is the odd man out as they didn’t use him to close out the last game.
The spread for this one favors visiting New Orleans by 1.5 points. The over/under is set at 235.
Pelicans looking to inch a little closer
Memphis moved back under .500 with their narrow loss to Orlando last night. And so this is a chance for New Orleans to try and inch a little closer to them. They will play the Grizzlies twice this month, games that could ultimately decide which team is going to qualify as the No. 8 seed for a date with the tough-as-nails LA Lakers.
This team is being guided by a combination of youth and Jrue. BI, Lonzo and Zion are doing most of the heavy-lifting, with Jrue Holiday also pouring in big point totals. They are continuing to tread water without JJ Redick available.
Derrick Favors has been playing well for them, as has his backup Nicolo Melli. They will be contending with a lot of size in Richaun Holmes and Alex Len, so they’d best come prepared.
Kings trying to stay afloat
Sacramento took three of four against the Grizzlies this year, but the standings do not care. They will not only play the Pelicans today but again on March 22. The games between these three teams will basically be telling us who ends up qualifying for the final playoff spot.
The Kings have no reason to fire Luke Walton this summer, but will likely consider canning Vlade Divac. The roster makeup was very inconsistent, and some of the summer acquisitions who signed three-year deals were shipped away rather quickly.
It will be up to their guards to lift them this evening. Between Fox, Bazemore, Hield and Bogdanovic, they will need to get some production. Cory Joseph’s defense will also be critical.
Pelicans win a tight one
Put your money where Zion Williamson is. Bet on the Pelicans.
Free Play: NOP -1.5
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