Top Home Games of 2013-14: No. 2 vs. IND

Wednesday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.

Other 2013-14 games between these two teams
Saturday, Jan. 4, New Orleans at Indiana

Why it’s on the list
Exactly 11 years after the New Orleans Hornets played their first official game in the Crescent City against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 30, 2002, the new era of New Orleans Pelicans basketball begins with a matchup vs. the Eastern Conference-contending Indiana Pacers. The NBA schedulemaker granted the Pelicans a much-appreciated courtesy by allowing them to open the 82-game schedule at home, in the renovated New Orleans Arena. It promises to be a memorable evening, with all fans in attendance being able to say they were there for the first-ever Pelicans game.

Whether it was intentional or not, the opponent on Opening Night has as many noteworthy connections to New Orleans and the franchise as virtually any NBA club. Pacers stalwart power forward David West is one of the greatest players in New Orleans history and made both of his NBA All-Star appearances with the team. Small forward Danny Granger is one of just five active players who were born in New Orleans (per Basketball Reference, the others are D.J. Augustin, Greg Monroe, Chris Quinn and Thaddeus Young). Reserve Pacers point guard Donald Sloan spent parts of the past two seasons with New Orleans.

On the Pelicans’ side, shooting guard Eric Gordon (Indiana) and head coach Monty Williams (Notre Dame) both were college basketball standouts in the Hoosier State.

What’s new in Indiana
Lack of depth proved extremely costly for the Pacers in their hard-fought, seven-game Eastern Conference finals defeat to Miami last season. With that experience fresh in mind, Indiana took several steps to shore up what had been a weakness. The Pacers’ biggest summer addition was power forward Luis Scola, who often tormented New Orleans in the past as a crafty post-up option for the Houston Rockets. In free agency, Indiana also managed to land solid backup point guard C.J. Watson and underrated scorer Chris Copeland from Big Apple-based NBA teams Brooklyn and New York, respectively.