Pelicans Primed To End 3-Game Losing Streak Vs. Magic

Sometimes a team just has your number. No matter the roster, the year, or the circumstances, they just know how to beat you.

Over the next two nights, the New Orleans Pelicans will be tested by two teams that not only have their number, but have called it repeatedly.

The Pelicans have lost three straight to tonight’s opponent, the Orlando Magic, and 12 of their last 18 matchups between the franchises. On Friday, it’s on to Miami, where the Pelicans haven’t won since Dec. 2017.

As the Pels near the playoffs, they will be tested on a near nightly basis by some of the very best teams in the NBA.

After their visits to the Magic Kingdom and South Beach, New Orleans gets a quick palette cleanser against the lowly Detroit Pistons before returning home for the most difficult, and possibly most important, home stand of the season.

Over an eight-day span the Pelicans will host the Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, and the Magic. Those five teams are currently a combined 112 games over .500 and are all seeded sixth or higher in their respective conferences.

The Pelicans have been outstanding against average and below average teams. That’s an important step on the way to becoming a contender. They’ve been very solid on the road, among the NBA’s best. However, they’ve yet to show that they can compete consistently with the very best teams the league has to offer.

They have that chance now. To prove to themselves, and to the rest of the NBA, that they are more than just “dark horses” in the Western Conference.

One of the most encouraging signs is the assertiveness that Zion Williamson has shown lately. After recently declaring that he finally feels like his old self, he is playing like his old self. Over his last 10 games Zion is posting impressive averages of 23.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 60.0% from the floor and 76.5% at the charity stripe.

His defensive growth has been truly impressive, with Zion getting at least one block in 15 of his last 19 games, and at least one steal in 12 of those.

For Williamson, who has yet to appear in any type of postseason game, whether it be play-in or playoff, the time is to ramp up both mentally and physically.

Willie Green’s biggest task will be utilizing these upcoming matchups as warmups for the playoffs. He’ll have to tweak rotations and begin to establish new roles for some of his reserves.

For the first time in six years, the questions surrounding the Pelicans are just about basketball. Not injuries. Not potential. Not hot seats or expectations. We’re discussing winning basketball in New Orleans, and that is a beautiful thing.

Most Recent Starting Lineups

New Orleans PelicansOrlando Magic
G – CJ McCollumG – Jalen Suggs
G – Herb JonesG – Gary Harris
F – Brandon IngramF – Franz Wagner
F – Zion WilliamsonF – Paolo Banchero
C – Jonas ValanciunasC – Wendell Carter Jr.


New Orleans Pelicans: Matt Ryan (non-COVID illness) is QUESTIONABLE. Dyson Daniels (left knee meniscectomy) is OUT.

Orlando Magic: N/A

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (42-26) at Orlando Magic (41-28)

Season Series

  • Mar. 21: New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic
  • Apr. 3: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans

Where: Kia Center

When: Mar. 21, 6:00 PM CDT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, NBA TV

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

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