Top 10 Pelicans Home Games of 2019-20: No. 10 vs. 76ers
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS AT NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Saturday, April 11 (6 p.m.)
Why it’s on the list
With NBA.com’s recent Eastern Conference power rankings listing Philadelphia second, behind only Milwaukee, the 76ers should be one of the league’s premier teams. For the Pelicans to improve upon their chances of returning to the playoffs after a one-year absence, they’ll probably need to be much more effective in the Smoothie King Center vs. the East, having finished just 5-10 last season (after starting 4-1, highlighted by a miraculous comeback vs. Brooklyn).
Where it falls on the New Orleans schedule
The Pelicans oddly play a majority of their late-season games against the East, including seven of their final 10. When the 76ers make their way to the Crescent City on the final weekend of the 2019-20 regular season, the Pelicans will only have three games remaining (April 13 home vs. Washington, April 15 at San Antonio).
What’s new in Philadelphia
Based on most lineup projections, the 76ers essentially swapped out two starting positions, losing Jimmy Butler (Miami) and JJ Redick (New Orleans), but acquiring Al Horford (Boston) and Josh Richardson (Miami). Depth-wise, the most familiar veteran pickups were backup guards Trey Burke (New York) and Raul Neto (Utah).
Matchups to watch
Philadelphia already fielded one of the bigger starting fives in the league, with the 6-foot-9 Ben Simmons at point guard, but the 76ers got even lengthier this summer by adding power forward/center Horford to a frontcourt that includes big forward Tobias Harris and center Joel Embiid. New Orleans has generally taken the opposite approach, relying more on speed and quickness, which likely will again be the case with a frontcourt featuring Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Both teams ranked in the top 10 in pace last season (Pelicans were second, 76ers eighth), but tempo could become an even bigger factor during their ’19-20 matchups.
76ers history in this countdown
Not far removed from the bleakest days of “The Process,” this is Philadelphia’s fifth appearance in seven years on Pelicans.com’s annual list and fourth consecutive, though it’s a slight drop from placing eighth, eighth and seventh from 2016-17 through 2018-19. That says much more about seismic offseason changes around the NBA – which led to an increase in interesting matchups for everyone – than it does the 76ers, who remain one of the league’s most compelling teams.
Other 2019-20 games between these teams
Friday, Dec. 13, New Orleans at Philadelphia