Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Pelicans' Full Schedule for 2020 NBA Restart

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJune 26, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, center, stands with teammates for the National Anthem before an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans were part of the first game canceled in the NBA because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 11. When the league resumes on July 30, they'll play in the NBA's first game back.

Zion Williamson and Co. will kick off New Orleans' run for the postseason at 6:30 p.m. ET against the Utah Jazz in the first of eight regular-season contests for the Pelicans at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. 

Pelicans-Jazz will kick off a doubleheader on TNT, with LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers facing off against Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2. 

Here's a look at who else New Orleans will face in Orlando (all times ET):

July 30: vs. Utah Jazz, 6:30 p.m., TNT

August 1: vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 6 p.m., ESPN

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August 3: vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 6:30 p.m., ESPN

August 6: vs. Sacramento Kings, 1:30 p.m., NBA TV

August 7: vs. Washington Wizards, 8 p.m.

August 9: vs. San Antonio Spurs, 3 p.m., ABC

August 11: vs. Sacramento Kings, 9 p.m., TNT

August 13: vs. Orlando Magic, TBA

The Pelicans entered the hiatus at 28-36, tied for ninth place in the Western Conference with the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings. They're just 3.5 games back of the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies with eight games to play.

Yet that doesn't mean the Pelicans are out of the playoff race. Far from it. 

The eighth-place team must clinch its playoff spot by at least four games for an outright postseason entry. Anything less triggers a play-in tournament between the eighth- and ninth-place teams. The ninth-place team must win two games before the eighth-place team wins one in order to secure a playoff bid. 

That means the August 3 matchup against the Grizzlies will likely serve as the most critical matchup of the Pelicans' season, pitting the league's two superstar rookies in Zion Williamson and Ja Morant against each other with as high of stakes as the regular season can have. 

Of the eight games on New Orleans' schedule, only two features an opponent above .500 as of the league's hiatus: the Clippers and Jazz. 

Fortunately, those are also the first two games the Pelicans will play once the season resumes, giving the club a chance to take advantage of a weaker stretch as the season winds down. 

New Orleans is led by the trio Brandon Ingram (24.3 points per game), Williamson (23.6) and Jrue Holiday (19.6), with center Derrick Favors averaging 9.9 boards per night and guard Lonzo Ball dishing out 7.0 assists per contest. 

The Pelicans were 5-5 over their last 10 games before the league was put on pause. 

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