NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans is a historically territorial place. In 1815, then-General Andrew Jackson led the United States Army to a victory over the British during the Battle of New Orleans. The win signified the United States’ claim of New Orleans and its importance in the gulf. Twelve years earlier, the acquisition of the largest land purchase in American history, the Louisiana Purchase, happened mainly because New Orleans existed. 

This city and state is known for its welcoming hospitality mixed with well-seasoned foods and celebratory spirit. Our passion for sports and resiliency is extensively documented, but something is changing. 

On Saturday, March 30th, the Western Conference 5th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans hosted the number 1 ranked team in the NBA, Boston Celtics. The Celtics entered the game with an offensive rating of 122.3, which leads the NBA, and 3rd in defensive rating. The Boston Celtics proved all of those numbers to be true. Their ability to stifle the Pelicans in the 2nd quarter and 2nd half exemplified why they are poised for a deep playoff run. 

Speaking of deep, there was a sea of green patrons wallowing through the seats of the Smoothie King Center. A casual fan would’ve thought it was a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Celtics fans infiltrated the barracks of the Blender. Zion Williamson even experienced loud cheers after missing free throws. 

It was a Saturday matinee against the number 1 team in the NBA, and “Pelmerica” did not show up. Low energy. Low enthusiasm. Low support. You would’ve thought the Pelicans were the road team and not the Celtics. A “Let’s Go Celtics” chant broke out and had to be muzzled by the Wild Wayne’s defensive chant. 

To be frank – it was embarrassing. This isn’t the New Orleans, Louisiana I know. Opposing teams would fear going into Tiger Stadium. Opposing teams would worry about the agitation in the Superdome. That should be no different in the building that Smoothies built. 

The Pelicans have a better winning percentage on the road (.632) than at home (.583). The Bayou Birds have 8 games remaining in the regular season with 4 of them being at home. The team has a chance to get to 50 wins, something that hasn’t been done since the 2007-08 season led by current Golden State Warrior – Chris Paul. 

There are always conversations and dialogue on social media about what player on the team impacts winning on the Pelicans. Should Zion be the point guard? Should Larry Nance start the second half? Should the Pelicans play through JV? BI needs to shoot more 3’s. Can we see Jordan Hawkins? What can the coaching staff do better?

Some of these questions are valid when it comes to impacting winning. I won’t argue you there. But my question to you, the fan, can you impact winning? With 4 home games left, Pelmerica has a chance to prove what it can do. New Orleans is known as the “Big Easy”, but winning should be difficult here for opposing teams.

**Please, for the love of God. Do NOT let Lakers fans show up in droves on Sunday, April 14. It will be another matinee game for the Pelicans. How will the fans respond? Hopefully, they will be territorial. 

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