We’re 13 days into the month of March and the early-Spring weather – we enjoyed most of February – has disappeared. Also gone from those fun times is the New Orleans Pelicans 10-game winning streak. That streak was bolstered by the play of Anthony Davis – Western Conference Player of the Month in February – and Jrue Holiday. Davis put up a flurry of monster games while Jrue showed why he was once an All-Star in this league by playing stingy defense and hitting crucial buckets late in games. AD was also the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from February 26 – March 4. The team got key contributions from many players. Most surprisingly Emeka Okafor. Okafor’s impact for the Pelicans won’t be shown in the traditional stats. His impact will show up if you catch him on the court during his limited action. Okafor who is 35, hadn’t played in the NBA in the previous 4 seasons and his tenure which started after Boogie’s injury wasn’t expected to yield much. Emeka’s hustle and ability to do the dirty work have been much needed additions for the Pelicans. As the Pelicans ready themselves for the final 16 games of the season they’ll need everyone to provide the same effort Okafor’s been bringing.
As we approach the Ides of March one thing is clear, the Pelicans need to keep winning. New Orleans has 16 games remaining. 11 of the 16 will be against teams fighting for a chance to make the playoffs. The 3rd seed and 10th seed are only separated by 4 games in the Western Conference Standings. The Pels will definitely have to earn their spot. 10 of the games will be at home & 6 games are on the road. I almost wish it was the other way around as the Pelicans are currently 17-14 at home vs 21-14 on the road. The Pelicans also have a back to back to back March 20 – March 22 to make up a home game against the Indiana Pacers. Thanks to a tip from my homie Darius who pointed out that Basketball-Reference has the Pelicans predicted to finish 6th with 46 wins. We’d both like the Pelicans to finish up with 48 wins in hopes of them getting a spot in the top 4. I’m thinking anything less than 10 wins and things will be tough.
Julius Caesar ignored the warnings from the soothsayer and ended up getting killed by his friends. The Pelicans aren’t as pompous as Caesar and quite honestly they shouldn’t be. They have done nothing yet and the Western Conference is a nightly gauntlet where too many losses will have them staring up at the standings asking “Et tu, Brute?”