The New Orleans Pelicans will be basking in a little limelight at the season’s onset.
The NBA announced the Pelicans will host the defending champion Golden State Warriors at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 20 as part of its opening week slate. The game will be broadcast on ESPN as part of a doubleheader.
It’s the third consecutive year New Orleans will face the Warriors on national TV in the opening week of the season. Golden State, en route to three straight Western Conference titles, has won 11 consecutive matchups against the Pelicans, including a sweep in the 2015 playoffs.
After suffering through long losing streaks at the onset of the past two seasons, several Pelicans players and coach Alvin Gentry expressed the importance of getting off to a good start this time around. Playing the Warriors likely doesn't help.
"We just need to start better, flat out," Gentry said. "We've put ourselves in a hole each time and even though it feels like we play well enough to get out of it, something else goes wrong and we can never climb out of it."
New Orleans was not a part of the league’s Christmas Day or opening night schedules.
The season begins on TNT, when the Boston Celtics face the Cleveland Cavaliers, before the Warriors receive their rings ahead of a matchup with the Houston Rockets.
Meanwhile, the NBA’s Christmas Day slate features four other premier contests. The New York Knicks face the Philadelphia 76ers to open the day, followed by an NBA Finals rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers. Two other playoff rematches follow, with the Celtics tangling with the Washington Wizards, prior to the Oklahoma City Thunder hosting the Rockets.