The New Orleans Pelicans have done it! After losing Zion Williamson due to injury in their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, many expected them to lose to a white-hot Sacramento Kings team. However, a resurgent Brandon Ingram propelled the Pels propelled the Pels to a huge win to send them to the playoffs.

Now, the Pelicans are set to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2024 NBA playoffs. Again, many are counting out New Orleans in the postseason. However, they have a believer for the postseasonbeliever for the postseason: Kendrick Perkins, who had this to say.

“Might have been a blessing in disguise that the Pelicans dropped those 2 games against the Lakers… getting this 8th seed because they have a Legit shot of beating the Thunder without Zion. Carry on…”

“When the Pelicans are 🔒 in they are DANGEROUS at the Wing position!!! Their size and athleticism will give a lot of people problems… especially on the defensive side of the Ball.”

The Pelicans got by on Friday night thanks to a complete team effort. Ingram was the star of the show, dropping 24 points in an all-around game. Five other New Orleans players scores double-digits: Jonas Valanciunas, Trey Murphy, Larry Nance Jr, Naji Marshall, and Jose Alvarado.

Unfortunately, the Pelicans will be dealing with a much tougher opponent in the playoffs. The Thunder have been one of the best, if not the best teams in the Western Conference. Under normal circumstances, this will already be a tough ask for an eighth-seeded team coming off two straight elimination games.

Pelicans, Zion Williamson's injury 

To make matters worse for the Pelicans, the team will not have Zion Williamson for the start of their series against the Thunder. Williamson had himself an insane game against the Lakers in their first Play-In game. He dropped 40 points on Los Angeles in the loss. Unfortunately, Williamson suffered a lower leg injury towards the end of the game.

Eventually, it was ruled that Williamson will be out for at least two weeks due to the hamstring strain he suffered. He will be reevaluated by then. Unless the Pelicans extend the series to seven games, they will not be playing with the star forward. It's such a shame, considering that the Pels star is breaking out of his shell.

The one thing that the Pelicans have over the Thunder is their experience. Most of the Pels' team have been to the playoffs multiple times. In contrast, this will be most of OKC's first time in the postseason dance. Age can be an overrated factor at times, which can lead to statements like Perkins' statement.

That being said, you just cannot count out the Pelicans, despite the supposed talent difference between the two teams. Ingram took a backseat to Williamson this season, but the game against the Kings proved that he can still take over when needed. In addition, the rest of the team is well-rounded enough to handle anything that Oklahoma will throw against them. This will certainly be an interesting matchup, that's for sure.