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Zion, Pelicans to battle Steph, Warriors amid Marvel-inspired alternate presentation on ESPN2

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With a Marvel’s Arena of Heroes backdrop, Zion needs to draw on his special powers to lead New Orleans to a victory over Golden State

In a first-time experience, Monday’s broadcast of the New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors game will feature a Marvel-inspired alternate presentation. This never before seen event will highlight the clash of Zion Williamson and Stephen Curry, two of the most explosive players in the NBA.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

While many fans around the country will be tuning in to see what the crossover event has in store, Pelicans fans will be keeping a close eye on this game for a different reason.

Currently, New Orleans is chasing Golden State for the final spot in the play-in tournament. With three games on the schedule against the Warriors remaining, every matchup presents an opportunity for the Pelicans to lessen the gap.

Following an overtime win at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, New Orleans improved their record to 29-35. Currently, the 10th-seeded Warriors sit at a record of 32-32.

New Orleans has had the three games against the Warriors highlighted on their schedule for some time, and they need to channel their inner heroes to try and stop one of the most dominant scorers in the league in Steph.

Curry was on pace for a fantastic MVP-like campaign, but he’s been otherworldly for more than the last four weeks. Since April 1, he is averaging 36.8 points, 6.4 threes, 6.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Although every opponent knows Steph is the head of the snake, defenses have been unable to slice the production and the shooting percentages reflect that: 51.0 FG%, 46.2 3PT% and 89.8 FT%.

Over the same time frame, Williamson has been outstanding too, with averages of 28.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists, and he’s coming off one of the best games of his career.

One of the most iconic quotes in the Avengers series comes in the first movie where Loki is talking to Iron Man and says, “I have an army.” Iron Man quickly rebuts, “We have a Hulk.”

Whether Golden State shows up with an army or not, New Orleans quite literally has a Hulk-like figure in Williamson. His well-known alter ego of Zanos will need to get angry — or whatever Zion does to invoke that inevitable prowess on a basketball floor — over this next stretch of games.

For more on this special Marvel presentation airing on ESPN2, please give the following details from ESPN PR a read.

The latest development in Marvel and ESPN’s long history of sports content collaboration, the telecast will integrate elements from an original Marvel story and iconic characters including Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange throughout the live game, including 3D virtual characters, custom graphics and animation packages.

After a narrow victory over an invading alien army, the Avengers receive an ominous threat from the enemy who vows to return in greater numbers and force. The Black Panther and Iron Man quickly realize they will need more help and form a plan to expand their ranks to fight this impending threat. Recognizing the superior physical abilities, agility, and tenacity of Earth’s greatest athletes, the Avengers will hold a series of contests where the winners earn the right to train and fight alongside them as Marvel’s Champions! The Avengers will begin their recruitment with the NBA elite and observe the battle between the Warriors and the Pelicans, focusing on three star players from each team.

Golden State Warriors:

Stephen Curry, three-time NBA Champion and two-time NBA MVP;

Draymond Green, three-time NBA Champion;

Andrew Wiggins, 2014-15 NBA Rookie of the Year.

New Orleans Pelicans:

Zion Williamson, 2019 NBA Draft top pick;

Brandon Ingram, 2019-20 NBA Most Improved Player;

Lonzo Ball, 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

Fans will be able to follow along as these athletes are put to the test, gaining Marvel Hero points for their achievements and performance during the game. The player with the most Marvel Hero points on the winning team will be crowned as Marvel’s first Champion following the NBA Special Edition Presented by State Farm: Marvel’s Arena of Heroes.

Scoring system:

One Marvel Hero Point will be awarded for every point, rebound, assist, steal and block;

One Marvel Hero Point will be deducted for every missed field goal, free throw or turnover.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (29-35) vs Golden State Warriors (32-32)

When: May 3, 6:30 p.m. Central

Where to watch:

  • For traditional broadcast: ESPN
  • For Marvel presentation: ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes
  • Both the alternate presentation and traditional game telecast will stream via the ESPN App

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

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 @J_vlosich.