On Tuesday night, the Pelicans get back to some home cooking. 5 of the next 7 games will be played in New Orleans, but before anyone gets too excited, nearly all of them will feature tough competition. Except for tomorrow, when the New York Knicks limp into the CBD.
The Triangle Has Gone Square
To put it mildly, the Knicks have not taken well to the newly instituted Triangle Offense. They sport a lowly 4-18 mark, which is the worst start in franchise history through 22 games. Not surprisingly, it has been reported a number of their players have turned into doubting Thomases. Even when they try to remain positive in public, the media has already decided to remain negative.
Still, amid all of the mistakes and mounting losses, Anthony is trying to see the positive.
"You look at our record you might say that we're far far away," Anthony said. "But we're not that far away."
Sure. Not that far away from the Sixers.
A Deeply Flawed Roster
The Knicks feature only two players who are currently considered above average this season: Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Yep, the shell of his former Sun self isn't a shell any longer. Somehow, Stoudemire has turned back the clock and is currently on pace to have his best full season since first arriving in the Big Apple. Maybe we should all schedule a wine bath?
Despite the reincarnation of STAT, the rest of the Knicks roster has been awful. Jose Calderon missing all but 9 games so far hasn't helped; however, their problems are much deeper than that -- 10 different players have already been in the starting lineup.
After claiming he was lost in the Triangle in preseason, JR Smith has yet to show he's figured anything out. Iman Shumpert and Samuel Dalembert continue to disappoint, while Andrea Bargnani still has not played a single minute. And our old friend, Jason Smith, isn't having a good time neither as evidenced by the disturbing Per 36 minute career lows in rebounds and blocks.
3 Keys to Victory
- Play in the paint. The Knicks are the worst defensive rebounding team in the league and average the lowest amount of points in the paint. Although they don't give up many points in the paint, I think it's more of a function of how their games go rather than any stout defense. Conversely, the Pelicans have scored more points than any other team in this area, so let's see them continue to attack the restricted area and hunt for a number of offensive rebounds.
- Run. The Knicks are last in the league in pace. One look at their starters and you see why -- they don't have anyone who wants to run by you. Monty Williams needs to stress this game is a green light special where all the Pelicans who like to get up the floor make it a priority to do so.
- Carmelo Anthony. Against bad teams, you can cheat a bit to make things harder for the opponents best player. The Knicks have recently come off several hard-luck losses, so Melo is going to come out like gangbusters as he can almost taste a victory. No players like to lose, but the best in the league are usually really bothered by it. If Luke Babbitt plays (knee) and is the first man set to guard Melo, Monty shouldn't hesitate to try someone else if he comes out and hits several shots in the opening minutes.