Playoff Seeding at Stake in Spurs-Pelicans Regular-Season Finale

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 6:26 PM UTC

Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2018 6:26 PM UTC

The 2017-18 NBA regular season concludes Wednesday night, and the Spurs at Pelicans matchup has Western Conference playoff seeding ramifications.

San Antonio (47-34, 42-37-2 ATS) at New Orleans (47-34, 44-36-1 ATS)Free NBA Pick: PelicansBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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There are 12 games on the final night of the NBA’s 2017-18 regular season. The most important of them is easily Denver at Minnesota, with the winner claiming the West’s final playoff spot. My cohort Jay Pryce will have a preview of that for you here at SBR. I’m here to talk Spurs at Pelicans, which tips at 8 p.m. ET from the Big Easy. Both teams are in the playoffs, but at which seed and against which opponent depends on the result of this game and a few others.

The Pelicans lead the season series 2-1 and thus would win a potentially big tiebreaker with the Spurs by taking this game. The one meeting in New Orleans was back on Nov. 22, a 107-90 Pels win when they had a healthy DeMarcus Cousins. The most recent meeting was Feb. 28 in San Antonio, a 121-116 Pelicans victory. That game was very notable as New Orleans erased a 15-point second half deficit for just its fifth-ever road win in the series. The Spurs had been 211-0 over their previous 10 years at home when leading by at least 15 points in the second half.

Anthony Davis has played in all three this season vs. the Spurs and is averaging 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds. Jrue Holiday has averaged 20.7 points. Dejounte Murray has averaged a team-high 16.7 points for the Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge 16.3 points.

The home team is 35-16 ATS in the past 51 meetings.

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They’re Both In!

The Spurs beat the Sacramento Kings on Monday, 98-95, to clinch a playoff spot for the 21st straight season. The Kings led by 14 points before being outscored 38-19 in the fourth quarter. Gregg Popovich deserves Coach of the Year consideration considering San Antonio has played with its entire projected lineup available in only one game this entire season. Of course, Kawhi Leonard has played in just nine games.

Now, where will San Antonio finish in the West standings? That, my friends, I can’t answer right now.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index projects the Spurs to lose this game and finish seventh, which would mean a first-round matchup against Golden State. San Antonio is currently sixth and with a victory here would assure at least the No. 5 seed but could move up to fourth depending on the outcomes of other games in the West both Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Anthony Davis on #Pelicans reaching playoffs amid adversity and skepticism: “A lot of people counted us out when (DeMarcus Cousins) went down, but we just kept fighting, changed the way we play a little bit. We believed in ourselves, all the guys in this locker room.”

— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) April 10, 2018
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The Pelicans, meanwhile, are in the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15 after winning at the Clippers on Monday, 113-100, New Orleans’ fourth straight victory. Davis was typically great with 28 points, while Nikola Mirotic had 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Ian Clark returned after missing the last two games with a right ankle sprain and finished with 13 points and six assists.

Now that New Orleans is in the playoffs, it must give up its first-round pick in the 2018 draft to Chicago as payment for the Mirotic trade. The only way the Pels could have kept it was if they jumped into the Top 3 of the lottery. New Orleans’ playoff fate is a bit clearer. A win here and it is either the No. 4 seed or the No. 5 seed in the West. A loss would send the Pels to No. 8 and a first-round matchup with Houston if Oklahoma City beats god-awful Memphis on Wednesday as the Thunder should.

You know the Pelicans don’t want to face the Rockets. New Orleans likes Wednesday games, covering six in a row. The Spurs, meanwhile, have dropped seven consecutive road games (1-6 ATS). Take New Orleans for a Wednesday NBA pick, and we’ll see you in the playoffs!

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