NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans' playoffs odds have been scraping the bottom for some time, but the franchise with so much hope heading into this season was officially eliminated from postseason contention on Monday.
New Orleans actually did their part to “stave off” elimination by beating the New York Knicks 99-91 at Smoothie King Center, marking their first win in 34 games in which they scored under 100 points. But victories by the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz led to the official “e” being placed next to the team name in the Western Conference standings.
“Oh, yeah. We’re shocked,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said facetiously. “I can’t believe that you brought that up. ... That we’re out of the playoffs. Man. We thought we had one more run in us. Especially with all of the guys healthy now, and everybody’s back.”
The Pelicans have lost 262 games this season because of injury and have used used 36 different starting lineups, the most in the NBA.
“We had more people in our [team] picture than the Saints did,” Gentry said.
The Pelicans' 27-46 record is currently the sixth-worst in the NBA and fourth-worst in the West. They are currently one and a half games better than the Minnesota Timberwolves and six games better than the Brooklyn Nets.
New Orleans' odds of a top-three draft pick stand at 18.9 percent, according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.