New Orleans Pelicans

18th Season First Game Played October 30, 2002
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2002/03: Almost 25 years after the Jazz left for Utah, the NBA returned to New Orleans as the Hornets dissatisfied with Charlotte moved to the Crescent City. Ironically when the Hornets played their first game in New Orleans on October 30th, their opponents were the Utah Jazz. With Baron Davis scoring 21 points with ten rebounds, it would be a successful debut for the Hornets who won 100-75. The Hornets took a quick liking to their new surrounding as they won their first ten games at home on the way to a 16-7 start. However, the Hornets would be slowed by a midseason injury to Baron Davis as they went 3-13 from mid-December to mid-January. At the trade deadline, the Hornets would acquire Kenny Anderson from the Seattle Supersonics to help take the pressure off Davis, who was hampered all season with a back injury. With the added help, the Hornets were able to end the season on a strong note winning seven of their last ten on the way to finishing in second place with a strong record of 47-35. However, just as the playoffs were starting, Baron Davis back would act up again. Making matters worse, Jamal Mashburn would suffer a dislocated finger in Game 2, as the Philadelphia 76ers raced out to a 3-1 series lead. The Hornets would force a sixth game, but in the end, the injuries to Davis and Mashburn who played but were not 100% would take their toll as the 76ers won in six games. After the season, the Hornets would stun their fans and most experts by firing Coach Paul Silas.

2003/04: In their second season under new Coach Tim Floyd, the Hornets got off to a strong start despite missing Jamal Mashburn for the first 44 games, as they won 9 of their first 12 games. The Hornets continued to play good ball for most of the first half as they held a 20-12 record at the end of December. As the New Year began, the Hornets began to struggle as they posted a losing record in January and only managed to play .500 ball in February. The Hornets’ struggles would take a turn for the worse in March as Mashburn, who played in just 19 games, was reinjured while the Hornets won only five of 16 games. The Hornets would rebound in April, winning four of seven games as they made the playoffs while finishing in third place with a 41-41 record. In the playoffs, the Hornets would face the Miami Heat, where they would find themselves in an early hole losing the first two games on the road. As the series shifted to New Orleans, the Hornets would rebound winning both led by the strong play of Baron Davis. After losing Game 5 in Miami, the Hornets again won at home to send the series to a seventh game. The trend continued with the home team winning every game as the Heat advanced to the second round with an 85-77 win. Following the season, the Hornets would make another change at the top as Tim Floyd was fired after just one season as a coach being replaced by Byron Scott, as the Hornets were relocated to the Southwest Division in the Western Conference as the NBA realigned.

2004/05: As the Hornets moved to the Southwest Division in the Western Conference, they had a Coach Byron Scott at the helm, but we’re already hurting as Jamal Mashburn was out for the whole season, and possibly leaning toward retirement. To say the Hornets got off to a slow start would be an understatement as they lost their first eight games on the way to a horrendous 1-19 start topped with a loss to the expansion Charlotte Bobcats. The losing would continue well into January as they were 3-29 on January 8th. The Hornets would not be as bad the rest of the way as they retooled their roster trading Baron Davis to the Golden State Warriors for Speedy Claxton while giving young players like Rookie J.R. Smith loads of playing time, as they ended the season in last place with an 18-64 record.

2005/06: Even before the Hornets reported to training camp, their lives and the future were thrown up into the air as was the rest of the City of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina left the low lying city flooded, in the worst Natural Disaster in U.S. History. With the New Orleans Arena partly damaged and the city’s infrastructure in need of repair, the Hornets would sign a deal to play most of their games in Oklahoma City, becoming the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets for the season. In Oklahoma City, the Hornets would be welcomed with open arms as they enjoyed sell-out crowds at the Ford Center. With the addition of Chris Paul was picked with the 4th overall pick, the Hornets were a much better team then they were the year before as they started the season with a 93-67 win against the Sacramento Kings, as the played .500 ball the first month of the season. After struggling with a 5-10 December, the Hornets came out strong in the New Year climbing above .500 and into playoff contention with winning records in January and February despite losing Chris Andersen to a two-year suspension for illegal drugs. Rookie Point Guard Chris Paul showed the poise and playmaking skills of a veteran finishing second in steals and seventh in assists as he posted a terrific 3.34 assist to turnover ratio while leading all rookies with 16.1 ppg. On March 8th, the Hornets returned to New Orleans with a near sell-out crowd on hand to watch the Hornets lose to the Los Angeles Lakers 113-107, as March saw the Hornets hit a wall and go into a tailspin winning just three of 14 games. The Hornets, who played six of their last 12 home games in New Orleans would go on to finish in fourth place with a 38-44 record, as Paul was named Rookie of the Year.

2006/07: With New Orleans still not fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina, the Hornets decided to stay in Oklahoma City another season, playing six games in New Orleans, as they promised to return fulltime to the crescent city in the 2007/08 season, as they were awarded the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. The Hornets would start their second season in Oklahoma City on fire winning their first four games. However, the inconsistency that would plague them all season showed its head early as they lost their next three games. After winning another four in a row, the Hornets again lost five in a row. Things would get tougher in December as injuries to key players like Chris Paul had the Hornets struggling all month as they entered the New Year with a record of 12-18. Chris Paul would return in February, but the Hornets were in a big hole, as winning nine of 13 games would only lift the Hornets to 28-30, as the playoffs were still out of reach. The Hornets would once again struggle in March as their playoff hopes were all but erased with a six-game losing streak. They would go on to finish the season with a 39-43 record.

2007/08: After spending much of two seasons in Oklahoma City, the Hornets returned to New Orleans full-time. On the court, there were no significant changes, other than the addition of Morris Peterson. However, in the year the Hornets were to host the All-Star Game, no star shined brighter than Chris Paul, who became the elite point guard in the NBA with 19.7 ppg, and 11.9 assists per game, as the Hornets came flying out of the gate with a 20-11 record in the first two months. The Hornets would play even better in the New Year, posting a 12-2 record, as they were the best team in the Western Conference at the All-Star Break, with Coach Byron Nelson coaching the Western All-Stars at New Orleans Arena. Down the stretch, the Hornets made a trade at the deadline acquiring Bonzi Wells and Mike James from the Houston Rockets for Bobby Jackson. The Hornets continued to play solid basketball in the second half as they battled for the top overall seed in the West. In the end, the Hornets would settle for second overall, as they won their first-ever division title, with a franchise-best record of 56-26. For his strong season, and the Hornets resurgence, Chris Paul would finish second in MVP voting, while Byron Scott was named Coach of the Year. Facing the playoff-tested Dallas Mavericks in the first round, the Hornets won the first two games surprisingly easily as Chris Paul and 35 points and ten assists in Game 1 and added 32 points with 17 assists in Game 2. After dropping Game 3 in Dallas, the Hornets won their first game in Dallas in a decade as David West scored 24 points with nine rebounds to lead the Hornets to a 97-84 win to take a 3-1 series lead. The Hornets would go on to close the series in five games with a 99-94 win. In the second round, the Hornets faced the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, who they battled all season for the Southwest Division Championship. As they had against the Mavericks, the Hornets won the first two games at home, as David West scored 30 in Game 1, while Chris Paul scored 30 in Game 2. However, when the series shifted to San Antonito, the Spurs showed their championship resolve, winning the next two games to even the series. Back in New Orleans for Game 5, the Hornets regained control of the series behind David West, who scored 38 points, with 14 rebounds, and five assists to lead the Hornets to a 101-79 win. After losing Game 6 in San Antonito, the Hornets needed just another home win to advance to the Western Conference Finals. However, beating the champions was easier said than done, as the Spurs took control of the game early and never looked back, eliminating the Hornets with a 91-82 victory.

2008/09: After their strong season, the Hornets added James Posey, who was a part of two NBA Championship teams, including the Boston Celtics in 2008, hoping he would give them the experienced winner they would need in the postseason. When the seasons started, the Hornets played mediocre basketball, splitting their first ten games. However, as November ended, the Hornets began to find their grove, as they won four straight games, before ending the month with a 9-6 record. The winning streak would carry over into December as the Hornets continued to start hot, posting a 10-3 record. However, the Hornets were unable to live up to expectations in January, with a 9-7 record. In February, the Hornets continued to play mediocre basketball with a 7-6 mark, while the front office received heat after Tyson Chandler was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forwards Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, in a cost-cutting move. However, the deal was rescinded when Chandler failed a team physical due to Turf Toe. The Hornets got back on track in March, winning 11 games as they locked up a playoff spot. In April, the Hornets struggled down the stretch, as they dropped six of their final nine games while posting a 49-33 record, settling for the seventh seed in the NBA Playoffs. However, the struggles would continue in the playoffs as the Denver Nuggets swat the Hornets in five games, which included an embarrassing 121-63 loss at home in Game 4. Following the season, the Hornets were finally able to unload Tyson Chandler, sending him to the Charlotte Bobcats for center Emeka Okafor.

2009/10: After a disappointing first-round exit, the Hornets hoped they could regain the momentum they had the season previous when won the Southwest Division title. However, things started poorly as the Hornets lost six of their first nine games. On November 12th, the Hornets would fire Coach Byron Scott with General Manager Jeff Bower taking the reins for the rest of the season. All-Star Chris Paul publically displayed his unhappiness with the firing and suffered a sprained ankle in Bower’s first game, as the Hornets dropped to 3-7. The Hornets would split eight games, while Paul recovered, but they had dug a hole with their early-season struggles. When Chris Paul returned, the Hornets began to resemble a playoff team again as they won 18 of their next 28 games to climb back above .500. However, Chris Paul tweaked his knee in late January, and though he tried to play through it, he would need surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Despite solid play from rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton, the Hornets would fall out of the playoff race and land in last place as Paul missed nearly two months before returning to action on March 22nd. With the team out of the playoffs, Chris Paul would play sparingly at the end of the season as the Hornets finished with a disappointing record of 37-45. Following the season, the Hornets would hire Monty Williams as their new coach, while Genera Manager Jeff Bower was replaced by Dell Demps.

2010/11: After a disappointing season, the Monty Williams era got off to a good start, as the Hornets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 95-91 on opening night at New Orleans Arena. The Hornets would get off to a fast start, winning their first eight games, on the way to a tremendous 11-1 start. Despite the excellent start, the Hornets looked to make changes, as Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic were sent to the Toronto Raptors for Jarrett Jack, David Andersen, and Marcus Banks. The excellent start would not last as the Hornets posted a 3-9 record over their next 12 games. At the same time, the NBA took over ownership of the Hornets, buying out Owners George Shinn and Gary Chouest for an estimated $300 million. The Hornets were one of the NBA’s hardest-hit franchises during the rescission, as the City of New Orleans continued to recover from Hurricane Katrina. This also had a chilling effect on the future of the Hornets as Chris Paul who had two years left on his contract was already making noise for his desire to play on a contender, or join other All-Stars to form a super team like the Miami Heat did with LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. After struggling most of December, the Hornets would enter the New Year with a record of 7-9. Highlighted by a ten-game winning streak, the Hornets would get back on track in January, as they posted a record of 12-4. Even as the Hornets held a 32-18 record through 50 games, there were rumors that Chris Paul could be dealt before the trade deadline. Against this backdrop, the Hornets struggled in February, posting a 4-8 record. The trade deadline would come and go, and Paul remained in New Orleans as the Hornets sent Marcus Thornton to the Sacramento Kings for Carl Landry. The Hornets would post an 11-10 record over the last six weeks, as they held on to their playoff spot with a history of 46-36. In the playoffs, the Hornets, with the seventh seed, would draw a match up with the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. With Chris Paul scoring 33 points, with seven rebounds and 14 assists, the Hornets stunned the Lakers in Game 1, winning 109-100 at the Staples Center. The Lakers would rebound to win the next two games, forcing the Hornets into a must-win Game 4 at home. Once again, Chris Paul came up big, posting a triple-double with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists as the Hornets evened the series with a 93-88 win. However, the Lakers would prove too tough of an opponent for the Hornets, as they would win the final two games to take the series in six games.

2011/12: The NBA would have a tumultuous off-season that resulted in a lockout that would last until late November. When the dust settled, the Hornets still owned by the NBA, knew that it was time to deal with Chris Paul, so they would send him to the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-team deal involving the Houston Rockets. However, Commissioner David Stern would reject the deal at the pressure of the other owners. Eventually, the Hornets would send Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers, getting Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon, and a 2012 first-round draft pick in return. Despite the loss of Chris Paul, the Hornets won their first two games, beating the Phoenix Suns in the season opener and Boston Celtics in their home opener. However, the Hornets would quickly find themselves in last place as they lost 15 of their next 16 games. The Hornets would struggle all season, as they posted an awful record of 21-45, which was the worst record in the Western Conference. The Hornets would get some good news off the court, as they were purchased by Tom Benson, owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints for $338 million. Benson, upon taking over the Hornets, signed a long term lease with the City of New Orleans, as he indicated he would seek a new name for the team that would tie it more in with the state of Louisiana. The Hornets got even better news in the lottery, as they won the first overall pick, which they would use on Kentucky star Anthony Davis.

2012/13: With the future of the teams secure, and a young star to build around, a new era was set to begin in New Orleans. New Owner Tom Benson felt the name Hornets did not fit the city of New Orleans and began exploring a new nickname that would draw more fans and give it a Louisiana style. Though he preferred to buy the name Jazz back from Utah, a deal was not to be made, and it was announced following the season the team would become the New Orleans Pelicans. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis had his struggles in his rookie year, as he managed just 13.5 ppg while grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game, Davis though only 19 years old would still make first-team NBA All-Rookie as the Hornets hoped he would become the premier center in the league. Wins were hard to come by early in the season, as the Hornets lost 25 of their first 32 games. January would be the Hornets’ best month as they won six of seven games, including wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics. However, they spent the entire season at the bottom of the Southwest Division and finished the season with one of the worst records in the Western Conference at 27-55.

2013/14: After letting go of the name Hornets to become the Pelicans, the Charlotte Bobcats reclaimed the name Hornets and reclaimed their Charlotte Hornets history that was before moving to New Orleans, making the Pelicans a separate franchise. At the NBA Draft in Brooklyn, the Pelicans selected Nerlens Noel with the sixth overall pick. They traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers along with a 2014 protected first-round pick for All-Star Point Guard Jrue Holiday and the 42nd pick, Pierre Jackson. On October 30th, in their first official game as the New Orleans Pelicans, Eric Gordon led the team in scoring with 25 points, as they lost to the Indiana Pacers 95-90 at New Orleans Arena. For the first two months of the season, the Pelicans hovered around the .500 mark as they went 7-7 in November and December. However, in January the Pelicans stumbled, suffering an eight-game losing streak that all but ended their playoff hopes, a big reason for their struggles was the loss of Ryan Anderson. Anderson, who was playing the season with a heavy heart after his girlfriend model Gia Allemand committed suicide. Ryan Anderson had been one of the Pelicans’ most valuable players, averaging 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game before a season-ending neck injury on January 3rd. As the All-Star Game approached in New Orleans, the Pelicans home got a new name, becoming Smoothie King Center. Following the All-Star Break, the Pelicans would suffer another eight-game losing streak as they went on to finish the season with a record of 34-48, with another three-game losing streak in the last weeks of the season. Despite the Pelicans’ struggles, Anthony Davis made great strides in his second season, leading New Orleans in scoring (20.8 ppg) and rebounding (10rpg) while leading the NBA with 2.1 blocked shots per game.

2014/15: In their second season since the name change, the New Orleans Pelicans started the season with a 101-84 win over the Orlando Magic at the Smoothie King Center. Leading the way in the season opener was Anthony Davis, who scored 26 points with 17 rebounds. Anthony Davis continued to develop into one of the best players in the NBA, scoring a career-high 24.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. With Davis carrying the team, the Pelicans played competitive basketball all season, posting a 16-16 record over the first two months. While Anthony Davis was the MVP in New Orleans, the Pelicans got a strong season from Tyreke Evans, who averaged 16.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game. At the same time, Omar Asik took some of the pressure off Davis in the middle with 9.8 boards per game, while a strong defensive presence. Strangely enough, the Pelicans would finish at the bottom of the Southwest Division with a record of 45-37, which was good enough to slip in the playoffs as the eighth seed via a tiebreaker by winning the season series over the Oklahoma City Thunder 3-1.

2015 Playoffs: In the playoffs, the Pelicans would face a tremendous challenge with the top overall seeded Golden State Warriors. In his postseason debut, Anthony Davis was terrific, scoring 35 points, but it was not nearly enough as the Warriors captured the opener by a score of 106-99. Davis was strong again in Game 2, but the Warriors won again 97-87. As the series shifted to New Orleans, the Pelicans appeared to be on their way to a win, leading 20 points entering the fourth quarter. However, MVP Stephen Curry led a furious fourth-quarter rally as the Warriors outscored the Pelicans 39-19 to send the game to overtime, scoring 40 points, including a three-pointer at the end of regulation. The Warriors would go on to win the game 123-119. The Warriors would go on to win the series in four straight on the way to an NBA Championship, taking the finale 109-98. Despite being swept, the Pelicans got a terrific series from Anthony Davis, who averaged 32.3 points per game, scoring at least 29 points in each of the four games. Following the playoffs, the Pelicans were not satisfied and fired coach Monty Williams.

2015/16: Coming off their first playoff appearance since their name change, the New Orleans Pelicans looked to continue to improve under new coach Alvin Gentry. However, the Pelicans stumbled out of the gate, losing their first six games before beating the Dallas Mavericks 120-105 on December 10th. The Pelicans would then lose their next five to sit at 1-11 after 12 games. The Pelicans continued to struggle in December, as they went into the New Year with a record of 10-22. The Pelicans started January slowly, losing four of five before finally getting on track. However, it was too late for them to make any realistic run at the playoffs as they still held a record of 18-28 at the end of January despite winning seven of nine to close the month. February brought more struggle for New Orleans as the Pelicans as they started the month with four straight losses, and went 5-7 overall. While the Pelicans continued to disappoint, Anthony Davis had some personal success, posting a career-best 59 points with 20 rebounds in a 111-106 win over the Detroit Pistons on February 21st. Davis again was the Pelicans top player leading the team with 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Anthony Davis dealt with a sore shoulder all season, and as it became clear the playoffs were out of reach, a decision was made to shut him down for the rest of the season in March, as the Pelicans went on to post a disappointing record of 30-52.

2016/17: The New Orleans Pelicans season did not get off to a flying start, as they lost their first eight games. The Pelicans played better as November came to an end, getting back within five games of .500 at 7-12. As December began, the Pelicans were struggling again, losing their first five games as they went into the New Year with a record of 14-21. Streaks were the story of the entire first half for the Pelicans as they found themselves out of playoff contention by the All-Star Game, which was held at Smoothie King Center. Anthony Davis of the Pelicans would win MVP honors. New Orleans found themselves with a second All-Star when the break was over, acquiring DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings with Omri Casspi for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and two draft picks. The Pelicans dropped their first three games after the trade but quickly began playing better, posting a record of 10-6 in March, as they finished the year with a record of 34-48. Anthony Davis had a stellar season, leading the Pelicans in scoring with 28.0 points, with 11.8 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Cousins in 17 games with New Orleans averaged 24.4 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.

2017/18: Following a disappointing season, the New Orleans Pelicans entered the season with heightened expectations. The team was entering their first full season with a frontcourt combo of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. The duo guided the Pelicans to a solid start as they went 26-21 in their first 47 games. On January 26th, the Pelicans were dealt a crushing blow as Cousins suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon rupture. In need of size, the Pelicans added forward Nikola Mirotic from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Tony Allen, Omer Asik Jameer Nelson, and a 2018 first-round draft pick. In March, the Pelicans suffered another loss when owner Tom Benson died. The Pelicans would claw their way into the postseason with a 48-34 record and the sixth seed in the Western Conference, as they finished the season with five straight wins. Anthony Davis had his finest season, scoring 28.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. The Pelicans center also led the NBA in blocked shots for the third time with2.6 blocks per game.

Written by Aaron Gershon

2018 Playoffs: The New Orleans Pelicans opened the postseason against the Portland Trail Blazers. New Orleans shocked Portland 97-95 in Game 1 to steal home court as Anthony Davis scored 35 points with 14 rebounds. Jrue Holiday dropped 33 in Game 2 to give the Pelicans a 2-0 series lead with a 111-102 win. At the Smoothie King Center in Game 3, the Pelicans continued to baffle the Blazers, winning 119-102 to take a 3-0 series lead as Nikola Mirotic led the way with 30 points. Anthony Davis dropped 47 points in Game 4 as the Pelicans completed the sweep with a 131-123 win.  This marked the Pelicans’ first playoff series win since 2008. In the semifinals, the Pelicans were matched up with the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Despite the best efforts of Anthony Davis, the Warriors took the first two games in Oakland by scores of 123-101 and 121-116. In NOLA, the Pelicans delivered a 119-100 win in Game 3, as Anthony Davis scored 33 points with 18 boards. The Warriors would take Game 4 by a score of 118-92 and won the series in five games, taking the finale 113-104.

Written by Aaron Gershon

2018/19: It was rough offseason for the New Orleans Pelicans, following their first playoff series win in a decade. DeMarcus Cousins left the team in free agency for the Golden State Warriors, while Rajon Rondo signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pelicans did not do a good job attracting a replacement, which left Anthony Davis feeling disgruntled as he entered the season. The Pelicans did add Julius Randle in hopes of stabilizing their frontcourt, but it was clear the team was not as good as the one that went to the playoffs. On October 19th, the Pelicans scored a franchise-record 149 points in a 149-129 win over the Sacramento Kings, as they won their first four games. The Pelicans would lose their next six games, starting a pattern of frustration that would lead Davis to request a trade. The Pelicans entered the New Year with a record of 17-21. On January 18th, Davis suffered an injury and only played 14 games upon return before being shut down for the year. The Pelicans had tried to deal Davis at the trade deadline, as GM Dell Demps was fired.  Without their star center, the Pelicans struggled over the second half finishing the season 33-49 and missing the postseason.


Written by Aaron Gershon

©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on May 11, 2003. Last updated on May 2, 2020, at 5:10 pm ET.