Despite all that’s gone wrong thus far this season — all of the injuries and all of the losses — the Pelicans entered Monday’s Martin Luther King Day matchup just 4 ½ games back of a playoff spot in the suddenly shallow Western Conference, a fact not lost on New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry and his players.
“This is a really, really crucial time for us,” Gentry said pregame. “We got off to such a bad start because of injuries and things like that. We have a chance because no one ran away and left. Obviously Golden State, San Antonio and teams like the Clippers and Oklahoma City [are] in the top echelon in the West. Everybody else is just kind of in that group where, if you can win five or six games in a row, you can get right back in the playoff race.
Source: Justin Verrier of ESPN
Make sure to follow Basketball Insiders on Twitter at @BBallInsiders.