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December is still a tough row to hoe for the New Orleans Pelicans

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The schedule makers felt Alvin Gentry didn't deserve a break coming back into the head coach's chair. The night remains dark and full of terrors in December.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After a very difficult stretch to open the season the schedule lightens up ever so slightly in December for the New Orleans Pelicans. Anthony Davis and company face just three back-to-backs during the month of December although the opponents each time are no cake walk.

December continues to lack legitimate cupcakes and starts off with three championship contenders; the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, and Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James against Anthony Davis finds its way to a national TV broadcast on ESPN. In order to accommodate ESPN the start time has been pushed back from the traditional 7:00 PM tip off to 8:30 PM. That December 4th game is the only home game effected so during the 2015-16 season.

Date Rest - NOLA Opponent Rest - Opponent TV Significant Advantage
12/1/2015 2 Days MEM 1 Day FSNO
12/2/2015 SEGABABA at HOU 1 Day NBA TV Opponent
12/4/2015 1 Day CLE 2 Days ESPN
12/7/2015 2 Days BOS 1 Day FSNO
12/11/2015 3 Days WSH 1 Day FSNO
12/12/2015 SEGABABA at CHI 1 Day FSNO Opponent
12/14/2015 1 Day at POR 1 Day FSNO
12/16/2015 1 Day at UTH 1 Day FSNO
12/18/2015 1 Day at PHX 1 Day ESPN
12/20/2015 1 Day at DEN 1 Day FSNO
12/23/2015 2 Days POR 1 Day FSNO
12/25/2015 1 Day at MIA 2 Days ESPN
12/26/2015 SEGABABA HOU SEGABABA NBA TV
12/28/2015 1 Day at ORL 1 Day FSNO

That five game road trip is the longest one for New Orleans all season. None of those games are incredibly easy but a 3-2 record there, where the Pelicans struggled last season, could be an early sign for Alvin Gentry's club taking a big step forward. The Pels went just 17-24 on the road last year; keeping themselves near .500 away from the Crescent City is almost required to win 50+ games this season.

You might notice I have lopped off the final game of December, a home tilt against Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers. As you will see that game attaches very well to a theme in January we have yet to see in the Pelicans schedule in later months. Long stretches at home against opponents on a SEGABABA.

So far the Pelicans have held a significant rest advantage only once through 31 games and faced a disadvantage seven times. Those tables turn on New Year's Eve. A record around .500 after 31 games, with just 13 home contests and facing a rest disadvantage in seven of 18 road games, will be an accomplishment.

A slow start will undoubtedly lead to hand-wringing and hot takes. Once again those naysayers could eat those words come April.