(Absolutely love the above pic!)
With less than 24 hours remaining before the deadline, the Pelicans sit amid a number of trade rumors. But, for a few hours tonight, we can give the trade machine a much needed rest and take in our first game in over a week. Only thirty games remain on the schedule and if the Pelicans have any designs on making a push for the Western Conference playoffs, a win against the Knicks would make for a nice start.
Despite our injuries, New York's season has been an even larger calamity. With essentially the same roster, the team is currently 13 games under .500. A season ago, through 53 games, the Knicks stood 13 games over .500. OUCH! One can point a finger at a number of things: Mike Woodson isn't who we thought he was, the Knicks have been playing musical chairs in the post and most of the roster outside of Carmelo Anthony has under-performed, some severely.
So, how do the Pelicans ensure the Knicks leave New Orleans with their 4th straight loss?
- Win the post battle. In the last 10 games, the Knicks have the best points in the paint differential in the league, an astounding +17.4. The Pelicans haven't been slouches (+6.9), but tonight it will be more important than usual to show well against Tyson Chandler and company.
- Get creative guarding Melo. As the Knicks have resorted back to going small, Anthony is the Knicks starting PF. It is vital Anthony Davis doesn't get into heaps of foul trouble. For at least half the game, I'd like to see Monty go small whereby Al-Farouq Aminu gets huge doses at the 4 and even Luke Babbitt gets an attempt or two.
- Use our speed. The Knicks are old and they sure play like it, ranking among the worst in pace and getting out to perimeter shooters. The Pelicans should take a page out of the Kevin Love book on outlet passes to manufacture some easy transition buckets and Monty should stress ball movement. Swinging the ball around the perimeter should net some wide open looks.