Jrue Holiday dribbles past Dallas defender Luka Doncic

Five most exciting New Orleans Pelicans home games of 2019-20 presented by SeatGeek

by Jim Eichenhofer

The entire NBA underwent an enormous facelift this summer, which was true to an even greater extent in New Orleans. The Pelicans enjoyed one of the league’s most exciting and newsworthy offseasons, featuring the addition of three first-round picks; a massive, multi-player haul from a blockbuster trade with the Lakers; as well as the signing of accomplished veterans Derrick Favors and JJ Redick. Many observers around the NBA quickly labeled the Pelicans a “must-watch team” on League Pass, but Crescent City fans will get the chance to see them 41 times in person during the 2019-20 regular season. Here are five of the most exciting home games in the Smoothie King Center this season:

Friday, Oct. 25 vs. Dallas

New Orleans’ home opener against the Mavericks will feature the ’18-19 Rookie of the Year, Luka Doncic, as well as this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Zion Williamson, in the latter’s first official game in the Smoothie King Center. ESPN thought highly enough of this Southwest Division matchup to make it part of its Friday night national doubleheader, one of numerous national TV appearances for the Pelicans.

Monday, October 28 vs. Golden State

The Warriors may have lost some household names this summer in transactions or as the result of injury (Klay Thompson won’t appear in this game), but they still boast two-time Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry and one-time Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green. Golden State also added to its offensive firepower in the offseason by acquiring D’Angelo Russell, who will pair with Curry in an explosive backcourt and match up against Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball.

Monday, November 11 vs. Houston

Speaking of star-studded backcourts, after landing Russell Westbrook in a July trade, Houston now has two of the NBA’s past three MVP winners. Westbrook earned the award in ’16-17, followed by James Harden capturing it the following season. The Rockets already were one of the Western Conference’s best clubs, having gone 20-5 after the All-Star break last season.

Wednesday, November 27 vs. LA Lakers

After a series of roster changes, four-time MVP LeBron James is now joined in Los Angeles by a group of players extremely familiar to Big Easy basketball fans. That group includes former Pelicans players Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo – all NOLA teammates during the ’17-18 campaign – along with Quinn Cook. Davis will play the first game of his NBA career as a New Orleans opponent in this matchup on Thanksgiving Eve, televised nationally by ESPN. Former Lakers players Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart will square off against some of their ex-teammates.

Saturday, January 18 vs. LA Clippers

For the first time in over a decade, New Orleans will play a regular season game on ABC, with the network featuring the Pelicans and Clippers in one of its marquee Saturday slots. The Clippers joined the Pelicans near the top of the list among teams that experienced the best offseasons, signing Kawhi Leonard in free agency, while acquiring Paul George via trade. Leonard, George and Holiday are all among the league’s best two-way players.


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