The Pelicans aren’t going to miss the party. When many thought they had lost, they have gritted their teeth to add five consecutive victories and place themselves with a balance of 38-37 that allows them to be only half a game away from the sixth position in the Western Conference; that is, to automatically be a playoff team.
With a somewhat friendly schedule, they were able to win conclusively on the Clippers’ field 110-131 before prevailing with the same emphaticity on the Blazers’ 90-124. No wonder they feel satisfied with the work they are doing while they wait for the return of Zion Williamson.
“We are playing with energy, together and enjoying basketball. That gives us extra motivation, it’s about playing for something. So I think everyone is motivated. Everyone has a goal right now,” says Jonas Valanciunas, author of 10 points and 21 rebounds against the Oregon organization.
Although the Lithuanian center speaks of collective work, it is no less true that the improvement has coincided with the step forward of Brandon Ingram. The forward was selected NBA Player of the Week this Monday after averaging 31.3 points, 10 assists and 6.3 rebounds in victories over San Antonio, Charlotte and the Los Angeles Clippers. Last night, continuing with such a dynamic, he scored 29 against Portland.
“He understands the moment. He understands what is in front of us right now. He’s doing a great job of setting the tone early in games and then finding his teammates when the guys are open. When he has chances to score, he has taken advantage of them », comments Willie Green about his pupil.
the party of the west
It has been confirmed. For weeks (even months) a heart-stopping regular season finale had been cooking in the Western Conference. That’s how it’s going to be. There are currently just 3 1/2 games to go between fourth (Phoenix) and 11th (Dallas). In between, six other teams that want to be in the playoffs avoiding going through the play-in (lesser evil). New Orleans is one more in this fight and now it’s their turn to visit the Warriors. If they win in San Francisco they can add more fire to a West that is already living in flames.
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)