New Orleans Saints, Pelicans score Christmas Day double-header

Pro sports in New Orleans will be given a national spotlight on Christmas Day this year, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that the New Orleans Pelicans will visit the Miami Heat for a tilt at 11 a.m. CT on Dec. 25. It’s one of five games tentatively scheduled for this year’s NBA holiday slate, likely to be broadcast nationally on either ABC or ESPN. We’ll know more once the league reveals its full schedule.

The New Orleans Saints, of course, were already scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. CT kickoff with the Minnesota Vikings at home. It’s an exciting rematch at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome between the Super Bowl-contending Saints and the team that knocked them out of the postseason last year, with Offensive Player of the Year candidates — running backs Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook, who rank first and third in scrimmage yards with 26 combined touchdowns scored between them — on both sides.

Mike Zimmer’s teams always give the Saints and his former coworker Sean Payton a hard time, even if they’re a long shot to reach the playoffs again this year. Hopefully Drew Brees will have recovered from his rib injuries to quarterback his team as the regular season reaches its end.

Zion Williamson and the Pelicans just missed out on a postseason berth before going into an active offseason, which saw the city’s NBA squad hire a new head coach in Stan Van Gundy and trade longtime fan-favorite Jrue Holiday for a package of assets that helped bring newcomers Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams into town.

And they’ll look to make some noise after signing Brandon Ingram, the reigning Most Improved Player of the Year, to a five-year contract extension. It just might be tough sledding against Jimmy Butler and a Heat team that pushed the reigning-champ Los Angeles Lakers to Game 6 in the NBA Finals.

Whatever the results, New Orleans sports fans will have plenty to keep track of on Christmas Day this year. We’ll certainly be tuning in for both contests to see how it all shakes out.

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