NEW ORLEANS – Paul George scored 32, George Hill capped a 19-point performance with pivotal 3-pointer in the final minute, and the Indiana Pacers erased a 16-point deficit en route to a 95-90 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
Former New Orleans forward David West helped Indiana spoil the home opener for the rebranded Pelicans by hitting four free throws in the final 1:06 and finished with 12 points. Lance Stephenson scored 16 points for the Pacers, who had opened their season a night earlier with a victory over Orlando.
Roy Hibbert blocked five shots and Ian Mahinmi blocked four for Indiana, which had 12 blocks in all.
Eric Gordon scored 25 points and former Philadelphia All-Star Jrue Holiday added 24 in his Pelicans debut. Anthony Davis had 20 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
The Pelicans led 85-81 after Holiday's jumper, but Hibbert scored on a spin move in the paint while drawing center Jason Smith's sixth foul, and then made the free throw to make it 85-84.
West then snagged the rebound of Holiday's missed jumper and soon after drew a foul, setting up the first of his late free throws to give Indiana the lead for good. After Davis' driving layup attempt rimmed out, Hill drilled a straight-on 3 with 31.1 seconds left, and New Orleans could not recover.
Trailing 52-36 after Smith's basket opened scoring in the third period, Indiana quickly closed the gap with a 10-0 run fueled by Hill's layup and 3-pointer.
Holiday snapped the run with free throws after he was fouled on a fast break started by Davis' rebound. Still, George scored 11 in the period, after which he had 24 points, and the Pacers trailed only 66-59.
Indiana continued to chip away. Hill's 3 pulled the Pacers to 76-74 halfway through the final period, then George's pullup jumper tied it at 76. Setting up a tense finish in which Indiana's maturity and chemistry won out.
New Orleans started strong, opening a 10-point lead in the first quarter, when Gordon scored 11 of his points, including a 3 and a three-point play on a transition layup. His 19-foot jumper gave the Pelicans a 24-14 lead heading into the second quarter.
The lead grew to 35-21 midway through the second period on Holiday's 3 and New Orleans maintained a double-digit lead much of the second quarter. Back-to-back 3s by Gordon and Holiday gave the Pelicans a 49-33 lead in the final minute of the period. George responded with pull-up jumper as he was fouled by Al-Farouq Aminu and converted the three-point play. Then Gordon's free throw made it 50-26 at halftime.
NOTES: The Pelicans announced shortly before tip-off that F Ryan Anderson, one of their best 3-point shooters, would miss one to three weeks because of a chip fracture in a toe on his right foot. ... New Orleans native Danny Granger was out for the Pacers with a strained left calf. ... Double technical fouls were called on Stephenson and Pelicans reserve C Greg Steimsma for shoving one another in the paint after a Pacers' tip-in during the second quarter. ... The Pelicans formally introduced their new Pelican mascot, named Pierre, a nod to Louisiana's French colonial influences. Pierre replaces Hugo the Hornet.