Pelicans 1st NBA Team to Finish 6-0 on Season Against an Opponent Since 1995

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New Orleans Pelicans 1st NBA Team to Finish 6-0 on Season Against an Opponent Since 1995

The New Orleans Pelicans improved to 6-0 against the Sacramento Kings this season with Friday night’s 105-98 play-in tournament victory, becoming the first NBA team to go 6-0 in a season (without a playoff series) against an opponent since the Denver Nuggets against the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1994-95.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Pelicans also prolonged a streak of No. 7 seeds never missing the playoffs since the play-in tournament was adopted in 2020. Considering New Orleans lost 110-106 to the Los Angeles Lakers in Tuesday night’s play-in matchup, the Pelicans will be entering the playoffs as an eighth seed.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Pelicans hold ninth-ranked odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Phoenix Suns and Lakers.

“We deserved it. That’s how we felt coming into this game,” said Larry Nance Jr., who finished with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench. “We deserve to be in the playoffs. You don’t win 49 games by accident.”

Despite losing leading-scorer Zion Williamson to a left hamstring strain during Tuesday’s play-in loss, the Pelicans managed to win their sixth-straight matchup with Sacramento to keep their season alive.

Additionally, New Orleans improved to 3-5 in their last eight home games played on a Friday.

New Orleans Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram scored a team-high 24 points against Sacramento Kings

Furthermore, Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans in scoring with 24 points on 10-of-20 (50%) shooting from the field, and Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks.

“We stayed together. We supported each other. And we played for each other,” Valanciunas said. “We all want to get to the playoffs. And we did it by playing good basketball, by supporting each other, helping each other on defense, on offense, sharing the ball, you know, making a right play. It’s fun basketball to play that way.”

Of course, Trey Murphy III replaced Williamson as starter during his absence. The third-year wing added 16 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in a game-high 43 minutes played for New Orleans.

“It feels good. This was a goal at the beginning of the year,” Ingram said of clinching a playoff berth. “We had another opportunity today and we came in and everybody contributed.”

More importantly, New Orleans avoided the wrong side of history on Friday night. Had the Pelicans lost to Sacramento, they would have become the first 49-win team in more than 50 years (Phoenix in 1972) to miss the NBA playoffs.

The Pelicans begin their first-round playoff series on Sunday at the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.