The league as a whole has a very good idea of where teams will be seeded for the postseason, with one exception: the Western Conference. In game 82 of the NBA season, the fifth through ninth seeds are all still up for grabs, and the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and New Orleans Pelicans still have something to play for.
The quickest and easiest way for this to be resolved is for the Clippers to win their game against the Phoenix Suns and for Golden State to win their game against the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow. This would move the Clippers and the Warriors out of the play-in tournament and move Golden State to the fifth and sixth spots, respectively. Yet things are almost never that straightforward in the NBA.
The Pelicans game against the Timberwolves, which will be broadcast live at 3:30 AM on NBA League Pass, is sure to be tomorrow’s most anticipated contest. The Pelicans have a remote possibility of ending in the fifth slot, while the Timberwolves are simply trying to avoid dropping to the ninth position and being forced to win two games in order to secure a berth in the playoffs.
When we look back at the predictions made before the start of the season, we can see that many people thought the Pelicans would make a significant leap this season and become a genuine danger in the West. All of it was dependent on Zion Williamson’s physical condition, and unfortunately, Williamson’s lower extremities have continued to give up on him. Zion has only participated in 29 games so far this season because of concerns with his ankle and, more lately, his hamstring. Since January 2, he has not been included in the Pelicans’ starting lineup.
The Pelicans have continued to fight despite this. They are pretty much in the same position as they were in during the previous season, which is fighting for a berth in the play-in with their mismatched collection of scorers.
This was a team that was built around the one-of-a-kind talent that Zion Williamson possessed. It featured bona fide bucket scorers in CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, as well as a bruising center in Jonas Valanciunas, a defensive menace in Herb Jones, and solid bench pieces in guys like Jose Alvarado and Trey Murphy. The Pelicans are like a heavyweight boxer who doesn’t have a knockout punch when they don’t have Zion. That’s still good enough to take down some of their competitors.
On paper, Minnesota should be far better than their record reflects; yet, this is not the case. Attempting to play Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert in the same lineup was difficult because of the size difference between the two players. While Towns was sidelined with an injury for a period of time, it appeared that they might not make the postseason. They have been able to avoid going under, and now that Towns has rejoined the team, they appear to be in excellent position to make another run at making the playoffs.
The Pelicans and the Timberwolves were the teams who emerged victorious from the play-in round the previous year. They will face each other in the final game of the regular season this year, which promises to be a very exciting contest.
Two dynamic scorers, both with their own personal demons, Ingram and Edwards are going to go head to head in this battle that we are looking at. When he joined the Pelicans, Ingram’s health has been an ongoing concern for the organization. He has missed at least 20 games in each of the previous six seasons, and the game that he is scheduled to play tomorrow will be only his 45th game of the current season. When he has been able to play due to his health, Ingram has given the impression of being a viable first choice scorer. This season, he has a shooting percentage of 48 percent, averaging 24 points per game while also pulling down five rebounds and dishing out five assists per game. Because to his contributions, the Pelicans have a winning record in more than half of their contests. All that is required of them is for him to remain on the court.
Edwards is one of the most dynamic young guards that you’ll find everywhere. In addition to this, he displays all of the characteristics of an individual who is attempting to establish a name for himself. It’s hard to predict what he’ll do next because of his erratic decision-making. The Wolves required him to play a more prominent leadership position, but it appears that he is not yet prepared to step into that role. The Wolves needed him to take on more of a leadership role. After all, he will turn 21 later this year.
His career shooting percentage is 45 percent, which is a career best, and he averages 24 points a game. This has earned him All-Star status. These formative seasons are essential to molding Minnesota’s winning culture and it is evident that Edwards is going to be the team’s top player within the next couple of years.
You should prepare yourselves for a confrontation between these two tomorrow. During the course of the last week, Edwards has put up a pair of 30-point performances, while Ingram has maintained a scoring average of 27 points during that same time period. Both squads are likely to rely heavily on their up-and-coming players in an effort to achieve their primary objective, which is to secure a victory.