Pelicans Top Timberwolves, One Win Away From Playoffs
New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis stuffed the stat sheet for his 41rst double-double of the season (24 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks, 5 assists, 2 steals) in a 100-88 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night, setting up a giant showdown at the Smoothie King Center.
"We have to get our mind right," said Davis about Wednesday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. "Winner take all. The good thing about it is we get to do it on our home floor. Our crowd is going to be there and be loud."
For the Pelicans, it's quite simple. Win and you're in. A victory over the red hot defending champs will clinch the 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. While a loss wouldn't eliminate New Orleans, they would need Minnesota, owners of the worst record in the NBA and a beat-up undermanned roster to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder. So yeah, it's pretty simple. Win, and you're in.
"We get a chance to go home and play one game to go to the playoffs," said Pelicans coach Monty Williams. "It's fun and nerve racking at the same time."
While the head coach spoke about nerves, Davis and teammate Quincy Pondexter have a different take.
"This is an exciting time more than a nervous time for us," said Pondexter, who was a member of the last New Orleans team that made the postseason in 2011 when he was a rookie for the Hornets.
A sellout crowd is expected to be on hand, with plenty at stake. San Antonio is fighting for the #2 seed in the Western Conference, needing a win Wednesday to do so.
How will the young Pelicans handle the moment?
"Just embrace the moment and embrace the time," explained a smiling Pondexter. "We have a chance to do something this young group has never done before by playing in the playoffs."
New Orleans has won two of three against San Antonio this year, with the lone loss coming in overtime.
"We've seen this team before. We've beaten them before. They've beaten us. It's going to be a great game," said Davis. "We just have to go out there Wednesday and play....the good news is we get to do it at home."
Does the savvy Pondexter have any suggestions for the Pelicans fans?
We just need our fans to be there. Be loud. Be proud and believe in us," Pondexter said. "We've come a long way and are on the cusp of doing something special. I believe in our team and I know we're going to do it."
Tip-off Wednesday is set for 7:00.