The NBA announced the 2021-22 regular season schedule this afternoon, reverting back to its standard 82-game format after the Covid-19 pandemic forced a reduced but condensed concoction of 72 contests last season.
The New Orleans Pelicans will be on national television markedly less, dropping from 28 originally scheduled appearances in 2020-21 to 15 for this upcoming season, but that decision is understandable — the Zion Williamson hype has yet to produce a winning campaign which deserves to be prominently featured outside the local area. Per Pelicans PR:
The Pelicans will be featured on national television 15 times during the 2021-22 campaign. ESPN is scheduled to broadcast six Pelicans games – vs. Atlanta (Oct. 27), at Golden State (Nov. 5), vs. Milwaukee (Dec. 17), at Denver (Feb. 4), at L.A. Lakers (Feb. 27), and at Denver (Mar. 6). TNT will broadcast four Pelicans contests – at Phoenix (Nov. 2), at New York (Jan. 20), vs. Miami (Feb. 10), and at Memphis (Mar. 8). NBA TV will televise five Pelicans contests – at Indiana (Nov. 20), at Milwaukee (Jan. 1), vs. Phoenix (Mar. 15), at L.A. Lakers (Apr. 1), and at LA Clippers (Apr. 3). Additionally, ESPN Radio will nationally broadcast one Pelicans matchup – at New York (Jan. 20).
When looking over the entire schedule, it’s clear the Pelicans will finally not be taxed by stiff competition early in the season and then throughout by a big volume of back-to-backs or rest disadvantages.
While seven of the first 11 games will take place on the road, six of those contests will come versus teams that missed the playoffs last year. Of course, one of those games pits New Orleans against what should be a much improved Golden State Warriors roster (Klay Thompson return), but the other five consist of Timberwolves (twice), Kings (twice) and the Bulls.
That’s right, after the season opener inside the Smoothie King Center versus Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers (Oct. 20), the Pelicans will face their old teammate Lonzo Ball when they battle the Bulls in Chicago on Oct 22.
The Pelicans will appear in 13 back-to-backs (fewest by any team is 12). In addition, they will play a league-low seven times with a rest disadvantage versus an opponent, while having a rest advantage in 22 contests (tied for 7th-best).
The longest stretch at home will consist of six games (Feb. 8-17). The Pelicans have three separate four-game road trips (Nov. 2-8, Jan. 31-Feb. 6, Mar. 30-Apr. 5).
The toughest stretch of the season that’s initially caught my eye are the concluding 13 games of the season, with eight coming on the road.
- Mar. 18 @ Spurs
- Mar. 20 @ Hawks
- Mar. 21 @ Hornets
- Mar. 24 vs Bulls
- Mar. 26 vs Spurs
- Mar. 27 vs Lakers
- Mar. 30 @ Trail Blazers
- Apr. 1 @ Lakers
- Apr. 3 @ Clippers
- Apr. 5 @ Kings
- Apr. 7 vs Trail Blazers
- Apr. 9 @ Grizzlies
- Apr. 10 vs Warriors
What are your impressions of the 2021-22 schedule for the Pelicans?