Indiana overcame a 14-point halftime deficit and did not take the lead for good until David West converted two free throws with 1:06 to play.
George hit 10-of-13 from the foul line and added six rebounds and five assists. Lance Stephenson tacked on 16 points for the Pacers and West had 12 in their season opener.
New Orleans began the season at home in a refurbished arena and sporting a new nickname. The franchise changed its name from the Hornets to the Pelicans for the 2013-14 season.
Eric Gordon led New Orleans with 25 points and Jrue Holiday contributed 24.