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Game 1: Pelicans vs. Magic

The long wait is over. This game counts!

Richard Dole-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Regular Season
0-0 (0-0 Home)
0-0 (0-0 Away)
October 28, 2014, 7:00 PM Central
Smoothie King Center - New Orleans, LA
Fox Sports New Orleans
Charter - 810, Cox - 1038, DirecTV - 678, U-Verse - 1758
WWL 105.3 FM
Projected Starters
Jrue Holiday PG Luke Ridnour
Eric Gordon SG Moe Harkless
Tyreke Evans SF Tobias Harris
Anthony Davis PF Kyle O`Quinn
Omer Asik C Nikola Vucevic
Advanced Stats (2013/14)
94.51 (22nd) Pace 95.87 (16th)
104.7 (13th) ORtg 99.3 (29th)
107.3 (25th) DRtg 104.8 (18th)

Check out Oleh's preview here.

The Magic starting lineup is the same one used in their last two preseason games. That group is limited offensively; Ridnour, Harkless, and Harris form a backcourt low on shooting behind the three point line. As a group they are big though so ending possessions and keeping the Magic off the offensive glass (ORL was 3rd in OREB% in the preseason) will be key tonight. While Orlando did not take a lot of threes last season (23.5%, 22nd in the league) they did focus their energies in the corners (28.4% of all threes attempted, 5th in the league).

One area to key on defensively - Orlando took the highest percentage of long twos (16+ feet) in the entire NBA last season, 23.2% of all field goals attempted came from that area. Combine Orlando's limited available shooters with the more conservative approach New Orleans demonstrated throughout the preseason and this game could produce impressive defensive results for the Pelicans.

On offense the Pelicans are going to be looking at a lot of length and girth around the basket. Harris (20.6% DREB%), O`Quinn (25.2% DREB%), and Vucevic (27.6% DREB%) are all above average rebounders for their position. Making a living crashing the offensive glass is unwise.

While Orlando was average defending the rim when opponents got there (53.1%, 17th in the league) the Magic were effective deterring opponents (20.1 FGA, 6th). One area to attack their collapsing defense, behind the arc. Orlando allowed opponents to shoot 37.1% behind the three point line, 5th worst in the NBA.

Monty's rotation appeared to be the five starters with Ryan Anderson, Austin Rivers, Luke Babbitt, Alexis Ajinca, and John Salmons coming off the bench at the close of the preseason. Does Coach Williams continue to go ten players deep or does he tighten up the rotation? Will Jimmer Fredette play meaningful minutes?

Regardless of the result this is just one game out of 82; do not put additional weight on it because it is the first game. Last year the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Miami Heat on Opening Night. Basketball can produce wild one night outcomes.

The Pelicans will debut their brand new red alternate jerseys tonight.

#TakeFlight Tuesday is TOMORROW! Show off that #Pelicans encouraged! #TFT

A photo posted by New Orleans Pelicans (@pelicansnba) on

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Opponent Intel - Orlando Pinstriped Post