With a little more than a month left before the start of the 2023-24 NBA season, Pelicans.com writer Jim Eichenhofer shares an opponent and matchup breakdown of the Top 10 games for Pelicans fans to watch at the Smoothie King Center this season.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS AT NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Monday, Oct. 30 (7 p.m., NBA TV)
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Why it’s on the list
Golden State features the player NBA fans perhaps most want to see in person (all-time great shooter and future Hall of Fame guard Steph Curry) as well as the team that attracts the largest road audiences. There is plenty of data to prove the latter: According to ESPN, the Warriors were No. 1 in the NBA in attendance at away games during the 2022-23 regular season, by a significant margin. Golden State drew an average of 19,772 fans over its 41 road tilts, surpassing runner-up Boston (18,830) by nearly 1,000 spectators per game. Furthermore, the Warriors have finished in the top three of average road attendance in every non-pandemic-impacted NBA regular season since 2014-15.
Pelicans players to watch
Herb Jones has been a defensive menace against much of the NBA over his two seasons, but particularly so when suiting up against Golden State. The Alabama product averages 3.0 steals in his five games vs. the Warriors, starting with a five-theft performance as a rookie in January 2022. Last season, Jones added four- and three-steal games, the latter in a nine-point home win for New Orleans. During the Pelicans’ 2-2 split with Golden State, Brandon Ingram (25.8 ppg, 47/41/81 shooting splits) and Trey Murphy (48 percent on three-pointers) were offensive standouts.
Where it falls on the New Orleans schedule
The timing of the only scheduled Golden State visit to the Crescent City of 2023-24 may be more notable for where it falls on the Warriors’ schedule. It’s game No. 3 of 82 for New Orleans, but Golden State will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back, having visited Houston on Oct. 29. The Warriors have held out some combination of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in multiple back-to-backs in the recent past on their trips to Louisiana. As a result, Curry has not played in a front of a full-capacity-allowed New Orleans crowd since Oct. 28, 2019.
Other 2023-24 games between these teams
Wednesday, Jan. 10, New Orleans at Golden State (ESPN)
Friday, April 12, New Orleans at Golden State
New Orleans Pelicans 2023-24 NBA Schedule Release Video
Golden State leads 45-26 all time, with a significant chunk of that advantage coming during the Warriors’ run of five consecutive NBA Finals appearances (every championship round from 2015-19). The Bay Area franchise went 13-1 against New Orleans during those handful of regular seasons, as well as 8-1 in a pair of playoff matchups (those don’t count in the official series records). The Pelicans have gone a respectable 6-8 since the start of the 2019-20 campaign, including 5-3 in the Smoothie King Center.
Highlighting a memorable New Orleans win
May 4, 2018: New Orleans 119, Golden State 100
The Pelicans rode big games from a couple bench sparks to a Game 3 home victory in the Western Conference semifinals (New Orleans has advanced to the second round twice in team history, the first in 2008). Facing one of the most talented and feared teams in NBA history, New Orleans received 18 points from guard Ian Clark – a former Warriors NBA champion – and 3/6 three-point shooting by fellow reserve Solomon Hill. The Pelicans broke it open with a 30-19 third quarter that built a 17-point lead.