Pelicans preseason: Eight games, eight cities
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Preparation for the New Orleans Pelicans’ 2013 preseason schedule has been a lot like the “lightning round” on a game show. With only four days of practices prior to Saturday’s opening game at Houston, Pelicans coaches have had to squeeze a lot into their training camp instruction.
“It seemed like when we played we had a week or a week and a half before you had to play a game,” Monty Williams said of the compressed timeframe. “Now it’s like three or four days. So you’re putting a lot in. You’re putting in sideline out-of-bounds plays and baseline out-of-bounds plays, because we’ve got to have them to play in a game. Before, you wouldn’t put that stuff in until after a week of practice.”
The Pelicans’ early game schedule is equally fast-paced, with them playing three times in the next five days. It finally slows to a relative crawl in the middle of the month, as New Orleans plays just once between Oct. 10-16.
Here’s a brief look at the Pelicans’ eight-game preseason schedule, which includes stops in eight different cities and the states Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Louisiana:
Saturday, Oct. 5 at Houston
The weekend game at the Toyota Center will be the first of any kind for the team now known as the “New Orleans Pelicans.” It’s also the Rockets debut of center Dwight Howard.
Monday, Oct. 7 at Dallas
A quick one-hour flight across Texas leads into Monday night basketball against the Mavericks, who revamped their backcourt this summer by signing Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon.
Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Jacksonville (vs. Orlando)
The 15,000-seat Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena hosts this midweek interconference matchup. New Orleans will quickly get quite familiar with Orlando, playing the Magic and rookie Victor Oladipo three times in Florida in a span of four weeks (including a Nov. 1 regular season game in Orlando).
Sunday, Oct. 13 at Biloxi (vs. Atlanta)
Officially a Pelicans home game, this 1 p.m. matinee is the first chance for local fans in the Gulf South region to watch the Pelicans play in person. Biloxi is about an hour drive north from New Orleans.
Thursday, Oct. 17 at Tulsa (vs. Oklahoma City)
The Thunder will be the hosts in this game at the 19,199-seat BOK Center, the home arena of the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock. Oklahoma City will be without Russell Westbrook, who’s projected to miss the initial 4-6 weeks of the regular season.
Saturday, Oct. 19 at Lexington (vs. Washington)
At the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena, former Wildcats Anthony Davis and John Wall of the Wizards will get to play on their college home court (Darius Miller will miss the game due to injury). As part of a memorable weekend for Big Blue Nation, the Kentucky men’s basketball team’s “Midnight Madness” event will take place the night before on Oct. 18.
Wednesday, Oct. 23 home vs. Miami
Ongoing renovations and upgrades to the New Orleans Arena necessitated limiting the Pelicans’ home preseason schedule to a single tilt, but it’s an attractive one. The two-time defending champion Heat aren’t scheduled to come to New Orleans in the regular season until March 22.
Friday, Oct. 25 at Orlando
The Pelicans’ preseason finale at the Amway Center marks the first of two consecutive Friday nights that New Orleans will be playing against the Magic in their state-of-the-art home arena.