Considering how New Orleans had fared on the road over the previous two-plus months, a four-game Western Conference road trip may have seemed less than ideal a week ago, but the Pelicans played some of their best basketball of 2022-23 during a 3-1 run, posting victories over playoff-quality teams Denver and the LA Clippers. New Orleans capped the ultra-successful excursion Thursday with a 107-88 triumph on the Nuggets’ home floor.
Watch postgame video reaction from Willie Green.
Watch Brandon Ingram highlights from the forward’s second triple-double over a seven-day span, posting 31-11-10 at Denver.
Thursday’s victory was immense in terms of New Orleans’ position in the standings, moving the Pelicans to seventh place and within one game of No. 6 Golden State (40-37; the Pelicans own the potential tiebreaker, so it’s truly a single-game gap). New Orleans also reduced its magic number for a play-in tournament berth to 4 (any combination of Pelicans wins and Mavericks losses that adds up to at least four; also requires any combination of Pelicans wins and Utah losses that adds up to four). Dallas (37-40) and Utah (36-40) have difficult weekends on tap schedule-wise, with the Mavericks visiting Miami and Atlanta in a Saturday/Sunday back-to-back, while the Jazz are at Boston on Friday, then at Brooklyn on Sunday. The Jazz’s game at TD Garden is part of a lengthy list of notable Friday games on the West scoreboard, including:
Oklahoma City (38-39) at Indiana, 6 p.m.
Utah (36-40) at Boston, 6:30 p.m.
LA Clippers (41-36) at Memphis, 7 p.m.
LA Lakers (38-38) at Minnesota, 7 p.m. (NBA TV) ... the winner of Lakers-Timberwolves will inch ahead of the Pelicans in the standings, pushing NOLA to eighth entering Saturday's slate
San Antonio at Golden State (40-37), 9 p.m.
Denver at Phoenix (41-35), 9:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
We’ll be back here Saturday morning to recap Friday’s relevant outcomes and update the Pelicans’ situation in the West race. Check out this week’s “24 Seconds” article featuring Kira Lewis Jr.