Monday, Oct. 28 (7 p.m., NBA TV)
Why it’s on the list
Sure, Golden State may have lost the game’s most talented scorer, Kevin Durant, in free agency, and elite shooting guard Klay Thompson won’t play early in ’19-20 due to an ACL tear sustained during the NBA Finals. Still, always-dangerous Steph Curry and jack-of-all-trades Draymond Green represent two-thirds of the Warriors’ core trio that set an all-time NBA mark by going 73-9 just three years ago. They’re joined by surprising summer addition D’Angelo Russell, who should help give Golden State one of the league’s most potent offenses. In June, some NBA analysts predicted the imminent demise of the Warriors, but as summer progressed, cooler heads seem to have prevailed, with the Warriors considered very likely to reach the playoffs for an eighth straight year.
Where it falls on the New Orleans schedule
It’s like clockwork – the Pelicans nearly always face the Warriors early in the regular season, sometimes more than once. This late-October meeting represents just New Orleans’ fourth game overall on the docket, keeping with recent tradition. Oddly, the Warriors will make their second and final visit to the Crescent City of ’19-20 less than three weeks later, on Nov. 17. Among NOLA’s first 13 games overall, it plays Houston and NBA Finals participants Golden State and Toronto twice apiece.
What’s new in Golden State
The departures of Durant, along with veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, created numerous significant roster openings. The Warriors tried to fill those by adding Russell, as well as a group of younger pros such as center Willie Cauley-Stein, Omari Spellman and Glenn Robinson III. For the first time in quite a while, it’s possible Warriors rookies could compete for spots in the rotation, such as first-round pick Jordan Poole.
Matchups to watch
Golden State’s frontcourt alignment around Green seems a bit to be determined, but its starting backcourt of Curry and Russell (prior to Thompson returning from injury) should be fascinating to watch. Russell was very ball-dominant in Brooklyn en route to becoming a first-time All-Star, while Curry’s versatile shooting skills allow him to excel on or off the ball. Meanwhile, Pelicans guards Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball will receive one of their toughest defensive tests of the season. New Orleans is extremely deep in the backcourt, featuring the likes of JJ Redick, E’Twaun Moore, Josh Hart, Frank Jackson and rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Warriors history in this countdown
A four-year run by Golden State atop Pelicans.com’s home games countdown finally came to an end with this sixth-place listing. Although it was top-ranked on this list a year ago, Golden State’s lone visit to the Big Easy in ’18-19 proved to be very anticlimactic, a Game 82 matchup that had no bearing on the playoff race.
Other 2019-20 games between these teams
Sunday, Nov. 17, Golden State at New Orleans
Friday, Dec. 20, New Orleans at Golden State (ESPN)
Sunday, Feb. 23, New Orleans at Golden State (NBA TV)