Apr 16, 2024 - Sports

Pelicans to battle Lakers (again) for spot in NBA playoffs

Zion Williamson reaches toward a basket with a basketball just coming off his fingertips.

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans drives to the basket against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 14. Photo: Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

The start of the NBA's postseason is nearly here, which means it's time to put the last of your hope in the Pelicans again.

Yes, but: Before the playoffs tip off April 20, eight teams will have to survive the play-in tournament for a shot at postseason glory, and the Pelicans are one of them after Sunday's devastating loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • If they'd won, it would have guaranteed them a spot in the playoffs and marked the Pels' first five-game winning streak of the season and the franchise's second 50-win regular season, the Athletic reports.

But they didn't. So now, we're back with our familiar friend, the play-in tournament, where the Pelicans will face a familiar foe, the Lakers, on Tuesday night.

How it works: Teams in the Eastern and Western conferences were seeded No. 1-10, with the six best guaranteed a playoff spot.

  • Teams seeded No. 7-10 have to play their way in, hence the tournament's name.

Yes, but: If the Pels lose against the Lakers, they've still got a chance to secure the 8th seed in the West.

Between the lines: The Lakers have had the Pelicans' number this season, winning three of their four matchups. That included an early December drubbing, 133-89, and Sunday's matchup when New Orleans laid an egg.

  • The Pelicans' lone win in the regular season series came on New Year's Eve when they won 129-109 in New Orleans.

How to watch: The play-in games run through April 19.

  • Watch the Pelicans v. the Lakers on TNT at 6:30pm.
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