Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Pelicans are hoping to become the fifth team in the Southwest Division to punch a ticket to the postseason and will play host to the Phoenix Suns Friday night.
Memphis, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas are all in the playoff mix, leaving the Pelicans as the only Southwest team without a postseason berth.
The Pelicans are even with Oklahoma City for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference and hope to rebound from Wednesday's 110-74 blowout at the hands of the Grizzlies. New Orleans scored 19 points in both the third and fourth quarters, and was led by Anthony Davis' 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Quincy Pondexter and Tyreke Evans scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Pelicans, who made only 35 percent of their shots and were outrebounded by a 52-39 margin. Pondexter had three of the team's six 3-pointers (6-of-21).
"This is a game that they needed, and they played with a great deal of desperation," said Pelicans coach Monty Williams. "We looked a bit tired out there."
New Orleans entered the game having won five of six contests.
The Pelicans will try to push their home winning streak to four games Friday night and are 26-13 in the Big Easy this season.
Meanwhile, the Suns have themselves to blame for missing out on the playoffs with seven losses in the past eight tries. They fell for the second straight time in Wednesday's 107-104 defeat against the Mavericks.
Gerald Green poured in a season-high 30 points, Markieff Morris had 19 points and his brother Marcus Morris went for 12 and 10 rebounds. Eric Bledsoe posted 14 points in a losing effort.
"We're going to keep our heads up," Green said. "We're still going to finish out the season. Obviously, it is disappointing for us. But we are going to finish out the season strong and hopefully we can build on it for next year."
Markieff Morris got a look at a 3-pointer toward the end, but it was off the mark as time expired. The Suns made 48.8 percent of their shots and managed 37 rebounds to Dallas' 47 boards.
The Suns will try to put the brakes on a four-game road losing streak and will close this four-game trip Sunday in San Antonio. They are 17-22 as the guest.
Phoenix and New Orleans have split two meetings this season, while the Suns have won nine of the last 12 games in this series.