New Orleans Pelicans schedule 2013: Big matchups against lower-tier playoff teams

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans eye a playoff berth with a revamped roster.

One of the most intriguing roster shakeups this NBA offseason occurred in New Orleans. The Pelicans grabbed young all-star Jrue Holiday and signed swingman Tyreke Evans to complement Eric Gordon. Forward Anthony Davis is sure to improve upon his rookie year and suddenly Monty Williams' basketball team could be pushing for a playoff berth.

The biggest games of the year will feature the Pelicans and some teams they'll be fighting with to be one of the lower-tier Western Conference playoff squads. But the 2013-14 season will also include Evans and Holiday returning to play against the teams that drafted them.

Five games to watch

Nov. 29 at Philadelphia -- The blockbuster trade of the 2013 draft sent point guard Jrue Holiday from Philadelphia to New Orleans. He'll make his return to the rebuilding 76ers early this season. The second and last game between the two teams will probably be before rookie Nerlens Noel, who was traded to Philly in exchange for Holiday, can return from his ACL injury.

Dec. 23 at Sacramento -- The Pelicans' major offseason signing, Tyreke Evans, heads back to Sacramento to face his old team. The 2009 draft's fourth overall pick never got a foothold on his career with a shoddy franchise that's now under new ownership. Now with New Orleans, there's a clear vision. Evans will probably relish the opportunity to show his old team what success looks like.

Feb. 26 at Dallas -- The ESPN-televised game will pit two of the Western Conference's most revamped rosters against one another. Both Dallas and New Orleans had a lot of roster turnover and added talented perimeter players -- the Pelicans' Evans and the Mavs' Monta Ellis -- as building blocks to chase the playoffs this season.

March 14 vs. Trail Blazers -- Second-year pro Anthony Davis has shown signs he's ready to take a large step forward, and facing the Blazers and forward LaMarcus Aldridge will be a true test of his improvements from last year -- on the defensive end, especially. Additionally, this game could have playoff implications for either or both teams.

April 2 at Denver -- Two teams with guard-heavy lineups battle it out late in the year. Denver could be fighting for seeding or a playoff berth, and New Orleans would like to have closed the gap between the two squads in the last year. At the least, this one might be one of the more entertaining games between two interesting collections of talent.

Tough tests

The most difficult run for New Orleans comes in January. Over a nine-game stretch, the Pelicans play against Indiana, Miami, Washington, San Antonio, Houston, Golden State and Dallas twice. There's a chance all nine of those contests are against playoff teams.

From Feb. 9 through March 4, the Pelicans play 10 games on the road including games against Brooklyn, New York and twice the Los Angeles Clippers. And it doesn't help to end the regular season with two games each against the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Easiest stretches

After opening the year against the Indiana Pacers, the Pelicans have a relatively easy schedule through most of November. They play Orlando, Charlotte and Philadelphia once each and have the Suns and Jazz twice each. The toughest game during the stretch comes Nov. 6 against Memphis. New Orleans also gets two early-season games against the likely Kobe-less Lakers out of the way.

Important schedule facts

Back-to-backs: 19

Season opener: Oct. 30 at home vs. Pacers

Longest road trip: Five games (Dec. 15-23, Feb. 26-March 4)

Longest homestand: Six games (March 7-19)

2013-14 schedule

OCTOBER
Indiana Wednesday, October 30 2013 8:00 PM EDT coverage
NOVEMBER
@ Orlando Friday, November 01 2013 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Charlotte Saturday, November 02 2013 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Phoenix Tuesday, November 05 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Memphis Wednesday, November 06 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Friday, November 08 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Phoenix Sunday, November 10 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, November 12 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Utah Wednesday, November 13 2013 9:00 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Saturday, November 16 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Utah Wednesday, November 20 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Cleveland Friday, November 22 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ San Antonio Monday, November 25 2013 8:30 PM EST coverage
Golden State Tuesday, November 26 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Philadelphia Friday, November 29 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
DECEMBER
@ New York Sunday, December 01 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Chicago Monday, December 02 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Dallas Wednesday, December 04 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Oklahoma City Friday, December 06 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Wednesday, December 11 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Memphis Friday, December 13 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Denver Sunday, December 15 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Golden State Tuesday, December 17 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, December 18 2013 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Portland Saturday, December 21 2013 10:00 PM EST coverage
@ Sacramento Monday, December 23 2013 10:00 PM EST coverage
Denver Friday, December 27 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Houston Saturday, December 28 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Portland Monday, December 30 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
JANUARY
@ Minnesota Wednesday, January 01 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Boston Friday, January 03 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
@ Indiana Saturday, January 04 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Miami Tuesday, January 07 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Washington Wednesday, January 08 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Dallas Friday, January 10 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Dallas Saturday, January 11 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Monday, January 13 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Houston Wednesday, January 15 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Golden State Saturday, January 18 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Memphis Monday, January 20 2014 5:00 PM EST coverage
Sacramento Tuesday, January 21 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Detroit Friday, January 24 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Orlando Sunday, January 26 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Cleveland Tuesday, January 28 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Minnesota Wednesday, January 29 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
FEBRUARY
Chicago Saturday, February 01 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Monday, February 03 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Wednesday, February 05 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Minnesota Friday, February 07 2014 9:30 PM EST coverage
@ Brooklyn Sunday, February 09 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
@ Toronto Monday, February 10 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Milwaukee Wednesday, February 12 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
New York Wednesday, February 19 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Charlotte Friday, February 21 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Washington Saturday, February 22 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Monday, February 24 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Dallas Wednesday, February 26 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
@ Phoenix Friday, February 28 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
MARCH
@ Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, March 01 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
@ Sacramento Monday, March 03 2014 10:00 PM EST coverage
@ Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, March 04 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Friday, March 07 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Denver Sunday, March 09 2014 6:00 PM EDT coverage
Memphis Wednesday, March 12 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Portland Friday, March 14 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Boston Sunday, March 16 2014 6:00 PM EDT coverage
Toronto Wednesday, March 19 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Atlanta Friday, March 21 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Miami Saturday, March 22 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Brooklyn Monday, March 24 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, March 26 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Utah Friday, March 28 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ San Antonio Saturday, March 29 2014 8:30 PM EDT coverage
Sacramento Monday, March 31 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
APRIL
@ Denver Wednesday, April 02 2014 9:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Utah Friday, April 04 2014 9:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Portland Sunday, April 06 2014 9:00 PM EDT coverage
Phoenix Wednesday, April 09 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Oklahoma City Friday, April 11 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Houston Saturday, April 12 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Oklahoma City Monday, April 14 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage
Houston Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage

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