Pelicans coach Willie Green proud to secure no worse than No. 9 seed

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New Orleans Pelicans coach Willie Green proud to secure no worse than No. 9 seed

New Orleans Pelicans coach Willie Green is proud of his team for at least qualifying for the Play-In Tournament for the second straight season. In Wednesday night’s 138-131 overtime win against the Memphis Grizzlies, Herb Jones scored a career-high 35 points to help New Orleans overcome a 19-point deficit.

“It’s incredible to have an opportunity two years in a row to play in the postseason, the playoffs,” Green said. “And, we’re continuing to build. Our confidence didn’t waver. For us, it’s a huge step in the right direction. … We still have some basketball left to be played.”

Referring to a couple of NBA betting sites, the Pelicans have 15th-ranked odds to win the championship. Some sportsbooks are showing greater odds for the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers.

Entering this contest, the Pelicans were 0-28 when trailing by at least 15 points this season. Not to mention, they were the only NBA team without a 15-point comeback this season. Last night’s victory puts pressure on the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers (41-39) in the Western Conference standings.

New Orleans outscored the Grizzlies 39-34 to force overtime. “I said, ‘We’ve done this to ourselves,'” Wille Green recalled telling his players before overtime. “So that’s No. 1. Let’s go out and win the game. They’re on a back-to-back just like we are. So, let’s go out and get it.”

Pelicans coach Willie Green is pleased to clinch no worse than the No. 9 seed, following Wednesday’s 138-131 overtime win against Grizzlies

Herb Jones’ previous career high in scoring came on Dec. 28, 2021, when New Orleans won 108-104 over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The forward ended his performance with 26 points, seven boards, three assists, and three blocks in 37 minutes of action. Also, he shot 10-of-18 (55.6%) from the floor and drained two 3-pointers.

Jones, Trey Murphy (30 points), and CJ McCollum (31 points) are the first trio in Pelicans franchise history to each score 30 or more points in the same game. Each player also knocked down at least five 3-pointers. Additionally, this will be New Orleans’ first time finishing a season above .500 since 2017-18.

Through 64 starts this season, Jones is averaging career highs of 9.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. In addition to logging 1.5 steals and 29.3 minutes per contest, the wing is shooting 46.3% from the field and 33.5% outside the arc.

New Orleans’ season-finale opponent is the New York Knicks. On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, the Pelicans play the Eastern Conference contender at Smoothie King Center. If New Orleans wins and the Lakers lose to Phoenix, the Pels will take over the No. 7 spot in the standings. Of course, Willie Green will celebrate again if that happens.

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