It’ll be the New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs in the 9-10 play-in game for the West, with the winner taking on the loser of the Timberwolves-Clippers game. The Spurs were in this contest last year and lost to the Grizzlies, while the Pelicans made some aggressive trade deadline moves to eventually secure this spot with strong play after the All-Star break.
No. 9 Pelicans vs. No. 10 Spurs
Head-to-head record: Spurs 3-1
Overall record: Pelicans 36-46, Spurs 34-48
Leading scorer on Pelicans: CJ McCollum
Leading scorer on Spurs: Dejounte Murray
Spread: Pelicans -5.5
Moneyline: Pelicans -220, Spurs +180
The New Orleans Pelicans were one of the last teams to clinch a spot in the play-in tournament, and they performed well down the stretch of the regular season despite an underwhelming record. The Pelicans missed the postseason three years in a row before ending that skid in 2022. It’s tough to know exactly whether Zion Williamson will be a part of the potential playoff run if they reach the first round as he hasn’t taken the floor all season. New Orleans added to their roster in February when they brought in CJ McCollum, who has taken much of the scoring along with Brandon Ingram. Veteran big man Jonas Valanciunas continues to put up big numbers in his first season in New Orleans.
The San Antonio Spurs squeaked into the postseason as the final team to clinch a spot in the play-in tournament of the Western Conference. Their overall record is ugly for a playoff team, but the Spurs played well down the stretch of the regular season to secure a place in the postseason after missing the playoffs two seasons in a row. San Antonio hasn’t won a series since the 2016-17 season, and the odds are against them snapping that streak. Dejounte Murray is near the top at just about any major statistic on the Spurs roster, though he dealt with an illness toward the end of the regular season.