Via Jason Smith's Instagram new court photo:
Preview: Miami Heat at New Orleans Pelicans
It’s the first game day of many for New Orleans Pelicans fans, and even though it’s preseason you can expect a big and excited crowd looking for the first W on our home floor. LeBron James and the Miami heat appear to be adequate competition, especially after emerging the frontrunners for MVP and NBA champions respectively yet again in the annual poll of General Managers.
Preseason or not, they’re probably in for a fight. The Pelicans have yet to lose a warm up contest, clocking in at 6-0 so far. Adding a win against the defending champions should boost the team’s confidence heading into the regular season.
While normally I laugh at the idea of preseason games having any sort of importance, this game in particular seems relevant. There are going to be so many media members in attendance that we’ve been cautioned not to expect seating for all three of our credentialed staff. In the five years I’ve been covering the team that’s never happened before in the preseason. According to the Sun-Sentinel, LeBron is considering sitting his final preseason game, potentially turning tonight into the Heat’s final full dress rehearsal for the regular season. If all that isn’t enough, there’s only one other time this year (March 23rd) that fans will be able to see the NBA champions and the MVP on our home court.
Let’s talk about what to watch for and what to look at… off the court.
This post by Jason on New Orleans Arena renovations is required reading for those that won’t be able to attend the game, and recommended reading for those who are. It gives a behind the scenes look at upgrades to concessions, VIP areas and locker rooms.
Once the game starts eyes will be the floor and the players, neither of which we’ve seen before live. Sure, many of you got to check out the jerseys ages ago, but there’s a noticeable difference between the way something looks on TV and in person. Watching a court full of Pelicans may very well change or affirm your previous thoughts on the uniforms.
The floor wasn’t installed during Jason’s tour of the facilities, so we’ve yet to physically view the surface we’ll all be staring at roughly 44 times this year (playoffs, baby!). The team has released the image below, but courts never look quite the same in real life as they do in mockups.
I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised in person by the court design, because I’m pretty bored with it online.
The team store will be ready and raring to go, so expect to see a lot more Pelicans gear on the way out than you saw on the way in. I’ve yet to really explore all the new options, and a few of the pictures Jason took have left me excited to see what’s available. I expect that I won’t be the only one BROWsing some Anthony Davis apparel.
Food-wise we’re talking major upgrades. You can judge for yourself, but what caught my eye is that acclaimed chef John Besh (yes, the same one who is catering my wedding) has entered into deal to develop some menu items throughout the Arena. That’s a big win for fans. If you remember, try to post some of your new favorite new offerings in the recap.
We’ll also be in store for new cheers, contests, performers, and signs. How do we chant “Here we go Pelicans/Pellies/Pels, here we go”? Will three bird heads run by after a Ryan Anderson three pointer? How many bird related puns can fit into one television broadcast? Will there be a live Pelican? How does Ric Flair play into this? (Spoiler– he doesn’t).
On the court fans will hope to see both Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, but I can’t yet offer any insight into their availability. We should know more after shootaround this afternoon. Darius Miller is definitely out.
If all both Gordon and Evans play we may very well get our first live taste of what our optimal three guard lineup looks like. Because the Heat can go small, we also might witness the five man lineup of Holiday-Gordon-Evans-Anderson-Davis, which I’ve been salivating over for the better part of offseason.
I want to see the Pelicans run. That might be what I’m looking forward to most, actually. After years of hovering near the bottom of the league in pace, I need some transition buckets in my life.
Davis should be all over the boards tonight. If not the Pelicans will likely have some problems.
On the Heat side everyone is fairly healthy. Ray Allen is expected back after missing the previous three games, and although Dwayne Wade has been sitting every other preseason game, there’s been enough of a break between games that I expect to see him suit up.
It’s the dawn of a new era, and I encourage that you be there to witness it. Also, and I hate saying this, but we need to show the Heat that this is no longer a neutral site for them. This is our town, our Arena, and our fans. We need to be louder, prouder, and all around superior to the New Orleans traitors, better known as Heat fans. Feel free, nay, obligated, to let any clowns donning Heat jerseys or colors know that they’re literally rooting for the enemy of our hometown team. Just assume that since they’re Falcons fans also, since they clearly don’t care for New Orleans.
Don’t blame me if you get into a fight… You know as well as I do that them’s fightin’ words.
Attending the game on behalf of Bourbon Street Shots are Jake Madison (@nolajake), Andrew Smith (@druproductions), and myself (@GerrityJoe). We’ll be all over the Bourbon Street Shots twitter feed (@BourbonStShots). Jason Calmes (@42phd) will be at the game in his usual balcony spot providing updates as well.
In closing I want to say one thing, maybe for the last time– I’m In!