Twenty Pelicans games to watch in 2014-15

In conjunction with Wednesday’s official release of the 2014-15 NBA schedule, it’s time for Pelicans fans to get out their calendars and start jotting down a few important dates. While recommends watching all 82 of the team’s games during this upcoming season, the following is a list of 20 games that are “can’t miss” in 2013-14:

Tuesday, Oct. 28 vs. Orlando
The second-ever Pelicans regular season gets under way with an interconference tilt against the rebuilding Magic, one of the NBA's youngest teams.

Saturday, Nov. 1 vs. Dallas
Following an unusual three-day early-season break, the Pelicans play a Southwest Division game against the revamped Mavericks, who now feature Chandler Parsons and new/old center Tyson Chandler.

Tuesday, Nov. 4 vs. Charlotte
The first matchup of the season for the Pelicans against the rebranded Charlotte Hornets, who regained that name this summer, as well as their franchise history from 1988-89 through 2001-02.

Saturday, Nov. 8 at San Antonio
The defending NBA champions host the Pelicans, in the first meeting of 2014-15 between the Southwest Division counterparts.

Monday, Nov. 10 at Cleveland
The Pelicans face the Cavaliers for the first time since LeBron James announced his decision to return home to his native roots in Ohio.

Wednesday, Nov. 12 vs. L.A. Lakers
Always a big draw on the road, Kobe Bryant leads Los Angeles into the Smoothie King Center for the first of two visits (the other is Jan. 21).

Friday, Nov. 14 vs. Minnesota
Depending on which trade rumors and reports you believe, New Orleans likely will face either longtime Timberwolves star Kevin Love or this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Andrew Wiggins.

Tuesday, Dec. 2 vs. Oklahoma City
It’s the first meeting of the season between the Pelicans and the Thunder, the West’s second-seeded team last season. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook remain one of the NBA’s most potent duos.

Friday, Dec. 12 vs. Cleveland
LeBron James and the Cavaliers make their only visit of the 2014-15 regular season to New Orleans. James and Miami lost 105-95 to the shorthanded Pelicans in March at Smoothie King Center.

Sunday, Dec. 14 vs. Golden State
Stephen Curry and the high-powered Warriors face the Pelicans for the first time. This is a rare Sunday home game for New Orleans during NFL season, but not to worry: the Saints play Monday vs. Chicago.

Thursday, Dec. 18 at Houston
Omer Asik gets his first chance to play against many of his former Rockets teammates, at the Toyota Center. Dwight Howard and James Harden remain headliners for Houston.

Friday, Dec. 26 vs. San Antonio
The post-Christmas schedule is not exactly full of holiday cheer for the Pelicans, who face the NBA champion Spurs and the Eastern Conference-contending Bulls in a back-to-back.

Saturday, Dec. 27 at Chicago
The last time the Pelicans and Bulls met in the Windy City, it was a triple-overtime thriller. New Orleans outlasted Chicago by a 131-128 final margin.

Monday, Jan. 19 at New York
New Orleans has traditionally hosted a game on Martin Luther King Day, but this will be the second straight year the Pelicans are on the road for the holiday (Memphis in 2014).

Friday, Jan. 30 vs. L.A. Clippers
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the high-flying Clippers make their only visit to New Orleans of the 2014-15 regular season.

Saturday, Feb. 7 vs. Chicago
Derrick Rose is slated to make his first game appearance in New Orleans since Feb. 8, 2012, the famous Will Ferrell player introductions game (Ferrell’s made-up intro of Rose: “His favorite movie is The Notebook”).

Saturday, Feb. 21 at Miami
Miami is no longer headlined by LeBron James, but two-thirds of the former “Big Three” remain, in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Friday, Feb. 27 vs. Miami
The defending Eastern Conference champions make their only trip of the regular season to New Orleans, wrapping up a three-game Pelicans homestand.

Tuesday, March 17 vs. Milwaukee
No. 2 overall draft pick Jabari Parker will play for the first time in New Orleans, as the Pelicans and green-clad Bucks meet in a St. Patrick’s Day game.

Wednesday, April 15 vs. San Antonio
For the second straight season, the Pelicans get to wrap up their schedule at home against a Texas team, this time the NBA champion Spurs.