Numbers of note
3 — Times the Pelicans will face the Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns. New Orleans will play every other team in the Western Conference four times and all Eastern Conference opponents twice.
13 — Sets of games on consecutive nights. The NBA stretched out the regular season to cut down on back-to-backs but couldn’t eliminate them entirely. More importantly, nine of the Pelicans’ back-to-backs feature two road games.
2 — Road trips lasting longer than three games. The Pelicans will only depart for a pair of four-game trips: one in early November and one in mid-December.
8 — Days off for the All-Star break. The league extended the break to ensure days off following the game, but the Pelicans' vacation is particularly extensive. They host the Lakers on Wednesday, Feb. 14, then return Friday, Feb. 23 at home against the Miami Heat.
11 — Wednesday night games in the Smoothie King Center, the most common night of the week for the Pelicans at home. New Orleans has 17 weekend home games and 24 weeknight home games.
8 — National TV appearances: two on TNT, six on ESPN.
Five games to watch
at Memphis Grizzlies, Oct. 18 at FedEx Forum — The Pelicans debut in a critical Southwest Division game against a Memphis team they must leapfrog this season. It will be an important early test and could be a preview of what’s to come.
at Sacramento Kings, Oct. 26 at Golden 1 Center — DeMarcus Cousins will make his first appearance in Sacramento since being traded in February. After nearly seven seasons in the California capitol, Cousins will have an emotional homecoming.
at Denver Nuggets, Dec. 17 at Pepsi Center — The Pelicans could be battling for a playoff spot with the Nuggets, and this matchup could prove crucial. The teams only face each other three times, so it could be a pivotal tiebreaker.
vs. L.A. Lakers, Feb. 14 at Smoothie King Center — On the cusp of the All-Star break, New Orleans hosts a winnable game at the end of a winnable stretch with the trade deadline approaching. This one could determine whether the Pelicans are buyers or sellers.
vs. San Antonio, April 18 at Smoothie King Center — This is reminiscent of the 2014-15 campaign, when the Pelicans notched a win over the Spurs on the final day of the season to reach the playoffs. This is the same opponent, in the same building, in the same spot on the calendar.