The Pelican Blog

Pelicans players huddle before a recent preseason game

Heat visit to NOLA not just another preseason game

By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer

With only a week to go before the NBA regular season begins and outcomes start counting in the standings, the final game or two of preseason can sometimes seem a bit tedious. When the New Orleans Pelicans take the court vs. Miami on Wednesday evening, however, the night shouldn’t feel mundane or monotonous in any way, for a variety of reasons:

• Due to renovations in the New Orleans Arena, the 7 p.m. contest will be the Pelicans’ first (and only) true home game during the 2013 preseason. The team normally schedules two preseason home games, but this time a single home game was pushed back to Oct. 23 to allow the maximum amount of time for arena improvements to be completed. “I’ve heard a lot about it, but I haven’t actually seen anything yet,” Pelicans guard Anthony Morrow said. “It’s going to be great. I’m really excited. I know the community’s excited. It’s a really fun time for the organization and the community.” Eric Gordon: “We’re definitely looking forward to getting back playing at home in front of our fans. We’ve been on the road for a long time. It’s going to be fun playing in front of them.”

• The opponent is the Miami Heat, the NBA’s most star-studded team and its two-time defending champions. It’s always difficult to predict how top players will be used in preseason, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh both played about 26 minutes in the Heat’s most recent preseason game Saturday. LeBron James sat out the win vs. San Antonio, but the reigning MVP told the Associated Press that he expects to play in Wednesday’s game against New Orleans, then sit out Friday’s preseason finale. “We’re glad to finally play in front of our home crowd here in New Orleans,” Morrow said. “Big game against the Heat. We just want to continue to get better and play at a high level… obviously they’re the world champs, so we’ve really got to bring it. But we’ve got to bring it against every team.”

• Although you obviously can't bring preseason victories with you into the regular season, New Orleans (6-0) still has a chance to post an unbeaten record during the exhibition schedule. The Pelicans wrap up preseason Friday at Orlando. New Orleans and Chicago (6-0) are the NBA’s remaining clubs without a loss. “Winning is winning,” Jrue Holiday said of his outlook on the team’s perfect mark so far. “If we go undefeated, that’s the best feeling in the world, no matter if you’re playing against a high school team or whoever it is. Winning is winning.”