Pelicans open season, new era
NEW ORLEANS - It's here. A new era of NBA basketball in the city of New Orleans began Wednesday with the Pelicans home game against the title-contending Indiana Pacers.
The New Orleans Pelicans opened the 2013-14 campaign and a new page in franchise history by playing an official game for the first time with their new name and uniforms, in a renovated New Orleans Arena.
The NBA schedulemaker graciously allowed the Pelicans to launch the 2013-14 season in the friendly confines of their home building, but they faced a significant challenge against one of the clubs that has designs on dethroning the two-time NBA champion Heat.
The Pacers took Miami to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and are led by rising star guard/forward Paul George, as well as former New Orleans power forward David West. The two-time All-Star with the then-Hornets ranks among the leaders in franchise history in several categories.
Coming off an excellent preseason, the Pelicans (27-55 in 2012-13) have hopes of returning to the playoffs after a two-year absence. New Orleans had one of the most active offseasons of any NBA team, adding All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, sharpshooter Anthony Morrow and shot-blocker Greg Stiemsma.
Among the team's returning veterans, second-year power forward Anthony Davis looked poised in preseason to have a big year, while backup point guard Brian Roberts delivered numerous clutch plays in fourth quarters. New Orleans went 7-1 in preseason, with its only defeat coming against Miami, a game the Pelicans led through three quarters.
Indiana is the lone Pelicans opponent in NOLA's first four regular season games that finished with a winning record in 2012-13.