The Pelicans 2015-16 schedule includes some important stretches that could have a big impact on their season _lowres

File photo of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2014-15 season


Here are some of the key stretches in the Pelicans' 2015-16 schedule.

Easiest stretch:

The final two weeks of the season could provide a nice springboard into improved playoff seeding for the Pelicans. Starting on March 31, New Orleans faces seven opponents out of its final eight games who finished last season with a losing record.

That includes the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers, who racked up three of the league’s four-worst records last season. Add in games against the rebuilding Denver Nuggets and Brooklyn Nets, and the Pelicans should be favored by significant margins as it closes out the season.

Only an April 11 home game against the Chicago Bulls pits the Pelicans against a true playoff contender and none are against the rugged Southwest Division.

Toughest Stretch:

The Pelicans will have a chance to prove it belongs with the league’s big guns before the calendar even flips to 2016.

Not only will they face the defending-champion Golden State Warriors twice in the first week of the season, but a brutal stretch of potential playoff opponents awaits just a month later in a 10-game succession.

From November 27 through December 12, the Pelicans match up against eight playoff teams from last year, and the two non-playoff games are against the surging Utah Jazz who finished the season on a 19-10 spurt and are expected to contend for a playoff position.

While this two-week stretch features three title contenders –road games at the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets precede the Cleveland Cavaliers lone trip to New Orleans – it also provides a series of opponents coming off of playoff appearances or with legitimate aspirations to get there this year.

Six of the 10 are on the road, and there are three different sets of back-to-backs