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Pelicans look to salvage the road trip with a win against the Knicks

New Orleans is desperate for a win but can they handle playing so early in the day?

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Last January, the Pelicans lost in the Big Apple to a very bad Knicks team. Although Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday were unavailable, almost everyone expected them to beat a team that was coming into the game losers of 16 straight.

Well, the roles have somewhat flipped entering today's matinee. New Orleans has a single win against eight losses while New York is playing much closer to .500 ball than a season ago. Carmelo Anthony is healthy and averaging 23.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 threes a contest.

Kristaps Porzingis, however, may be the bigger story. He was the Knicks first round draft pick over the summer, a move that the majority sneered. Through ten games this season, it appears New York made the right choice. The young Latvian is averaging 11.5 rebound, 8.8 rebounds and close to a steal and block a game in just 25 minutes of game time. While only 20 and still needing for his body to fill out, he hasn't shown any fear of playing among the trees of the NBA. Hopefully, Anthony Davis will present his next challenge.

Having sat out the last two games, Davis appears to be on track to rejoin the lineup. Today marks the last day of the road trip, one AD wouldn't have made had he not been likely to play in a game. Before the matchup with the Raptors started in Toronto, he was seen working up a good sweat in pregame, demonstrating his impending return. Lastly, Davis is being listed as the probable starter.

Good deal... fans hope.

3 keys to victory

  1. Push the pace and force the issue. With a lineup geared towards playing a slower style of play (hello Robin Lopez and Jose Calderon), the Pelicans should look to turn on the afterburners. Moreover, the Knicks rank 3rd to last in transition defense following a turnover.
  2. Making their share of three-pointers. The Pelicans are in the top 10 in made threes, attempted threes and 3-point field goal percentage. Conversely, the Knicks defense has the third-best three-point defense in the league, allowing a meager 31.0%.
  3. Get to the free throw line. The Knicks are a foul prone team, hacking opponents 23.7 times a game. Although Tyreke Evans is normally a big part of the equation, the Pelicans need to find a way to get to the line a few more times this afternoon. The Raptors demonstrated just how vital this part of the game can be when the offense is not clicking.
A noon eastern start time is worrisome. The Knicks are used to matinee starts, but the Big Easy loving Pelicans, not so much. Regardless, they'll need to be ready to go at tip-off. New Orleans has proven that any poor stretches for any significant length of time usually does them in. Their playoff chances can't take too many more of these slip-ups.

What: Pelicans at Knicks

Where: Madison Square Gardens

When: November, 15th, 2015, 11:00 AM

How: FSNO, 99.5-WRNO (radio)

Enemy Data: Posting and Toasting