Pelicans Seek To Break Magic’s Spell and Stop Slide In Standings

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Pelicans have done so much good this season, but suddenly an atmosphere of anxiety has been created around the Smoothie King Center.

It’s only natural for the level of concern to be raised when you drop three of their first four during the most critical home stand of the season. Even without Brandon Ingram, players, coaches, and fans had to be expecting a better result.

When this 6-game stretch began, the Pelicans were holding on to the fourth seed in the Western Conference Standings. Today they cling to the sixth spot, just a game ahead the Sacramento Kings. However, the Pels can clinch a spot in the postseason, whether it be the playoffs or the play-in with a win tonight. Willie Green would become the first coach in franchise history to lead the team to three consecutive postseason appearances.

Standing in their way tonight will be the Orlando Magic. Coach Green and his staff have been unable to find the secret of the Magic’s spell, with the visitors winning the last four games in the series.

New Orleans hasn’t beaten Orlando in the Smoothie King Center since January of 2017.

The mystery of the Pelicans’ struggles at home remains a perplexing one. A team that dealt with far fewer injuries and obstacles won 28 on their home floor. At best, this year’s squad can get to 24.

It won’t be easy to get there; not with the Magic, followed by the Spurs and Victor Wembanyama, and closing with LeBron James in the Lakers in the season finale in a game that will likely still have major implications for the postseason.

Tonight is the definition of a “must-win” contest. The Pelicans have yet to prove that they can win from behind or win consistently in the clutch.

They have struggled with teams like the Magic, versatile teams with length.

The matchups are intriguing. Former number one picks and Duke Blue Devils, Zion Williamson and Paolo Banchero face off once again. Trey Murphy will match up with Franz Wagner. Jonas Valanciunas battling with Wendell Carter inside.

The formula is simple, but it won’t be easy to accomplish.

New Orleans must win the war for points in the paint, get to the free throw line, and limit the Magic from beyond the arc. Can they? Will they?

We’re about to find out.

Most Recent Starting Lineups

Orlando MagicNew Orleans Pelicans
G – Jalen SuggsG – CJ McCollum
G – Gary HarrisG – Herb Jones
G – Franz WagnerF – Trey Murphy
F – Paolo BancheroF – Zion Williamson
C – Wendell Carter Jr.C – Jonas Valanciunas


Orlando Magic: Caleb Houston (ankle) is OUT.

New Orleans Pelicans: Jose Alvarado (right oblique strain) and Brandon Ingram (left knee bone contusion) are OUT.

Who: Orlando Magic (44-31) at New Orleans Pelicans (45-30)

Season Series

  • Mar. 21: Magic def. Pelicans, 121-106
  • Apr. 3: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Pelicans

Where: Smoothie King Center

When: Apr. 3, 7:00 PM CDT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, NBA TV

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

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