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Zion Williamson Effect: New Orleans Pelicans to appear in 19 nationally televised games in first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

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Who is ready to basketball?!?

Milwaukee Bucks v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The NBA announced the first half of their 72-game 2020-21 regular season schedule on Friday, and if you’re a fan of nationally televised games, Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans are going to be prominently featured across all viewing markets.

Per the Pelicans PR department:

The Pelicans will be featured on national television 19 times during the first half of the season, starting with the Christmas Day game at Miami on ESPN.

In addition to the Christmas Day game, ESPN is scheduled to broadcast New Orleans’ matchups vs. Charlotte (Jan. 8), at the Los Angeles Clippers (Jan. 13) and the Los Angeles Lakers (Jan. 15), vs. Milwaukee (Jan. 29), vs. Phoenix (Feb. 3) and at Dallas (Feb. 12).

TNT is scheduled to broadcast six Pelicans games beginning with Dec. 29 at Phoenix and followed by contests at Utah (Jan. 21), vs. Houston (Feb. 9), at Memphis (Feb. 16), at Milwaukee (Feb. 25) and vs. Miami (Mar. 4).

NBA TV is scheduled to air five Pelicans games beginning with New Orleans’ matchup vs. Toronto (Jan. 2) and followed by games at Dallas (Jan. 11), at Utah (Jan. 19), at San Antonio (Feb. 27) and vs. Utah (Mar. 1).

ABC will broadcast one Pelicans game when the team hosts the Boston Celtics in a Sunday matinee on Feb. 21.

There’s a lot of fun matchups to unpack here. The Pelicans will have at least one national TV game a week each and every week of the season from December to March. New Orleans will face the Bucks, Heat, Mavericks, Jazz and Raptors all twice in prime time, with key battles also coming against the World Champion Lakers, Clippers and Celtics. In addition, there’s several more conference games (Grizzlies, Rockets and Spurs), and a matchup between Lonzo and LaMelo Ball (Hornets).

In perusing the schedule, New Orleans will be on the road for 11 of their first 16 games, but then they’ll wrap up the first half with 15 of 21 matchups at home.

As for back-to-backs, notice the first occurrence won’t be witnessed until the end of January, but the Pelicans will endure a total of six B2Bs in the span of five weeks. Any significant injury(ies) or COVID-19-related issues suffered during this time frame could significantly damage playoff aspirations.

What are your impressions of the first half schedule for the Pelicans??

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.