A Different Look at the Remaining Schedule, Part 8 | New Orleans Pelicans

Published: April 10, 2018

The New Orleans Pelicans are in the Playoffs (congratulations), and there is not much to the remaining schedule. I’m going to leave much of the work to the world, but I’m going to wrap this series up by laying out the 32 cases (5 remaining important games), at least enough to see how it plays out for the Pelicans.

Some quick results:

  • At 47 wins, the Pelicans have the 8-seed and play the Rockets, unless they end up in a three-way tie with the Thunder and the winner of the Nuggets and Timberwolves, in which case they get the 7-seed and play the Warriors.
  • At 48 wins, the Pelicans can get the 4-seed, 5-seed, or 6-seed and play the Jazz, Nuggets, Thunder, Timberwolves, or Trail Blazers. They can not play the Spurs in the post-season.
    • The Jazz winning a game eliminates the possibility of the 4-seed, and with it the chances of playing the Nuggets and of playing the Timberwolves and of playing the Thunder in the post-season.
    • The only way to play the Jazz is to be the only teams with 48 wins.
  • The Pelicans are shut out of the 3-seed.

Remaining Games

In the West, 7 teams still have not settled into their Playoff seeding (or eligibility). There are 5 games remaining involving those teams. The Jazz play Tuesday against the Warriors, then they all play Wednesday, with only the Thunder playing an “outsider” team that last night, the Grizzlies. Each team has just 1 game remaining, except the Jazz who play 2.

  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
    • Spurs @ Pelicans
    • Nuggets @ Timberwolves
    • Grizzlies @ Thunder
    • Jazz @ Trail Blazers

47 Win Scenarios

If the Pelicans lose to the Spurs, they end up with 47 wins. They will finish with a better record than the loser of the Nuggets and Timberwolves, a worse record than the Trail Blazers and Spurs and can do no better than the 7-seed once tie-breakers are considered.

Let’s see how these cases break out.

  • It is impossible for a team to be in sole possession of 47 wins.
  • If there is a two-way tie, it is with the winner of the Nuggets and Timberwolves. The Pelicans get the 8-seed, play the Rockets.
  • If there is a three-way tie, it is with the Jazz and the winner of Nuggets and Timberwolves, the Pelicans get the 8-seed and play the Rockets; or, it is with the Thunder and winner of Nuggets and Timberwolves, the Pelicans get the 7-seed and play the Warriors.
  • If there is a four-way tie, it is with the Jazz, Thunder, and the winner of the Nuggets and Timberwolves. The Pelicans get the 8-seed and play the Rockets.

In this case, the Pelicans have the 8-seed and play the Rockets unless they end up tying with the Thunder and the winner of the Nuggets and Timberwolves game, in which case they get the 7-seed and play the Warriors.

48 Win Scenarios

If the Pelicans beat the Spurs, they end up with 48 wins. They will finish with a better record than the Nuggets, Spurs, and Timberwolves, so they can do no worse than the 6-seed, but they can not get the 3-seed due to tie-breakers.

Let’s see how these cases break out.

  • If they are the lone team with 48 wins, they have the 4-seed and play the winner of the 4-way tie-breakers at 47 wins between the winner of Nuggets-Timberwolves, Jazz, Spurs, and Thunder, which is the winner of Nuggets-Timberwolves. The Jazz winning a game eliminates this chance.
  • If there is a two-way tie, it is either with the Thunder, the Pelicans are the 4-seed and the Thunder are the 5-seed; or, it is with the Trail Blazers or Jazz, and the Pelicans are the 5-seed playing the 4-seed team they tied with. The Jazz winning a game eliminates the chances of playing the Thunder.
  • If there is a three-way tie, it is with the Jazz and Thunder, the Pelicans get the 6-seed and play the Trail Blazers; or, it is with the Jazz and Trail Blazers, the Pelicans get the 5 seed and the play Trail Blazers; or, it is with the Thunder and Trail Blazers, the Pelicans get the 5-seed and play the Trail Blazers. In any case, it is the Trail Blazers, just as the 5-seed or 6-seed.
  • If there is a 4-way tie, it is with the Jazz, Thunder, and Trail Blazers. The Pelicans would be the 5-seed and play the Trail Blazers.

The Pelicans can not get the 3-seed, and they can only get the 6-seed if they tie with the Jazz and Thunder, and they end up playing the Trail Blazers. If they get the 4-seed, they can host the Nuggets, Timberwolves, or Thunder. If they are the 5-seed, the play the Trail Blazers. The only way to play the Jazz is to be the only teams with 48 wins.

The outcome of the Jazz game can clarify some of this, and I may post a slight update tomorrow.

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