Pelicans Upset Jazz, Move to 0.5 Games Behind the Lakers for 9th Spot in West

New Orleans Pelicans NBA Background

  • The New Orleans Pelicans upset the Utah Jazz as +5 point underdogs on Friday night.
  • New Orleans has won four straight games and have won their last three by at least 25 points.
  • The Pelicans are now just 0.5 games behind the L.A. Lakers for 9th spot in the Western Conference team standings.

The New Orleans Pelicans are rolling at the right time.

With the regular season headed to its final stretch, the Pelicans have come out of the All-Star break like a team on a mission. That mission is to get back in the playoff hunt and possibly steal the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

On Friday, the Pelicans played the 4th seeded Utah Jazz as +165 Moneyline and +5 point spread betting underdogs at the best NBA betting sites. The result? New Orleans destroyed the Jazz and that’s not an exaggeration:

That’s Four, Take Note

Friday’s win over the Jazz was New Orleans’ fourth straight win since coming out of the All-Star break. The winning margins during this win streak are 15 ( vs Suns), 28 (vs Lakers), 30 (vs Kings), and 34 ( vs Jazz). They are the 1st team in NBA history to outscore their opponents by 100+ points across their first four games after the All-Star break The Pelicans are also the first team since the San Antonio Spurs in 2018 to win three straight games by a winning margin of at least 25 points.

Since the Pelicans led the Jazz by as many as 30 points in the first half, this marks the first time in franchise history where they have taken a 30-point lead in three consecutive games. New Orleans’ +107 point differential in their last four games is the largest in franchise history over a four-game span, erasing the previous record of +90 set in 2008.

Here’s more. Only 21 teams in the history of the NBA have won three straight games by 25+ points. 19 of those teams advanced to the playoffs. Of the three teams to come out of the All-Star break and outscore their first four opponents by 90+ points, two of them won the NBA title, and one lost in the Conference Finals. So despite having +175 odds to make the playoffs, don’t sleep on the Pelicans just yet.

0.5 Games Back of the Lakers at 9th

The Pelicans are now 27-36 SU on the season and are just 0.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the 9th spot in the Western Conference. Although catching up with the 8th seeded Clippers looks tough right now with 19 games left and a six-game lead to overcome, overtaking the Lakers at the 9th spot will give the Pelicans the home-court advantage in the first play-in tournament game. That’s crucial for them since they are better at home (15-17 SU) than on the road (12-19 SU) this season.

Of course, even if the Pelicans beat the Lakers, they will still have to win one more play-in tournament game to make the playoffs. That game will be against the loser of the play-in tournament game between the 7th seeded Timberwolves and the 8th seeded Clippers, assuming the current standings hold. Those teams aren’t’ easy outs. But the Pelicans are 2-2 SU against the T-Wolves and 3-0 SU against the Clippers this season so again, don’t count out the Pelicans just yet.

Most people talk about the Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Wolves, and Clippers as the surprise teams this season. But many are forgetting that this is a New Orleans team that has played without its best player since the start of the season. This campaign may or may not end in a playoff appearance for New Orleans but give them credit for getting back in the playoff hunt after they were almost given up for dead early in the season.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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