In front of a packed house at the New Orleans Arena, the newly-minted New Orleans Pelicans fought the good fight in their regular season opener, but showed this young and talented group still has some growing to do when it comes to closing games after blowing a promising first half lead and falling to the Indiana Pacers 95-90.
“It’s tough to lose any game,” forward Anthony Davis said. “We had them, but in that fourth quarter they scored 36 points. We can’t allow teams to do that. We have to lock down defensively and take care of getting the ball.”
Davis, Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday combined for 69 points in the contest. Davis led the team with 25 points, Holiday had 24 points and five assists. Davis, who looked stronger and more confident compared to last season, set a career high with 7 offensive rebounds and recorded a double double with 20 points and a dozen rebounds.
Gordon’s ankle and knee appeared healthy, and he certainly seemed to play more at ease with Holiday initiating the offense.
Although there were many bright spots, this loss was a a tough one to grow on for the NBA’s youngest team.
“The Pacers took the game,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.”I just didn’t think that we had an understanding of the moment in the fourth quarter. Some of our vanilla possessions where we just jacked up a couple of shots that the guys who took the shots probably thought to themselves that ‘I could have gotten something better.’ I thought that this was like a playoff game tonight.”
On the plus side, the Pelicans scored 18 points off turnovers in the first half. On the minus side, they finished with 18 points off turnovers. Paul George led the charge for the Pacers with 32 points.
The Pelicans were without Ryan Anderson, who suffered a chip fracture in the second toe of his right foot Monday at practice. Team doctors examined Anderson after he experienced discomfort recently. Anderson is expected to miss 1-3 weeks.
The Pelicans next game will be at Orlando Friday evening with the tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.