The Pacers appeared well on their way to dumping a loss on the road with their play in New Orleans, but eventually rose to the challenge and put themselves in position to win late. That's when experience took over and the Pacers broke the hearts of the hometown fans, beating the Pelicans in their home opener, 95-90.
The Pacers struggled to get anything going early, spending much of the first half down double-digits. Eric Gordon led the way for the Pelicans with 15 points at the break while his backcourt partner, Jrue Holiday added 12 points. The Hornets had a eFG% of 51% at the break, while the Pacers were stuck at 41%, settling far too often for the 3-ball and making 4 of 12 attempts.
But a 10-0 third quarter run put the game back in play for the Pacers and kept the deficit within single digits the rest of the way. Eventually the Pacers broke through and applied enough pressure on the young Pelicans to make them break in the final two minutes of the game.
After Jrue Holiday scored to put the Pelicans up by four with two minutes to play, the Pacers closed with a 14-5 run which included making all nine of their free throw attempts.
The closing run started with a traditional three-point play by Roy Hibbert and was highlighted by a three-point bomb from George Hill, well behind the arc.
Paul George made the final four free throws and finished with a game-high 32 points. George Hill added 19 points, with Lance Stephenson scoring 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds. The win moves the Pacers to 2-0 on the season as they head home to face Cleveland on Saturday night.