As the playoff race hots up, all eyes are on the Western Conference where we are about to have a huge battle between a number of teams. Just four wins separate the Trail Blazers in 3rd and the Nuggets in 10th. Two teams from that group will miss out, and right in the middle of the group at this moment are the New Orleans Pelicans. Right now they are in a playoff spot, but a couple of losses can put them on the outside and in trouble. After playing pretty well all season long, the Pelicans will be hoping they can finish off the season and make it through to the playoffs.
The Celtics are assured of a playoff position in the East and look likely to end with the number two seed. They started the season well, but haven’t been able to keep up with the Raptors during the second half, and they now have a big lead over the Celtics going into the final stage. The Cleveland Cavaliers are behind in 3rd and certainly have the ability to challenge Boston, but right now they are not playing quite well enough to catch up.
The one thing that makes me think the Pelicans can win this game is that they are in a huge battle out west right now and every win counts for them. On the other hand, the Celtics are cruising towards the end of the season. It is highly unlikely the Cavs will catch them for second, and unlikely they can trouble the Raptors who currently hold top spot.
That gives these two teams two very different mindsets and puts a different importance on the game for both teams. With home-court advantage meaning this game is an even more important game for the Pelicans, I am siding with them to win this one. They have everything to play for, the fans will be behind them, and that is going to be enough to give them the victory.
Overall, the Celtics are probably the better team out of these two, but with the way this game is set and the circumstances around it, the Pelicans look to be the only winner. I am going to take them to win this game by around 5-10 points and bag another important win as they aim to secure a playoff spot.