The Pelicans have been, if nothing else, a consistently inconsistent basketball team for most of the Anthony Davis era.
Go on basketball-reference.com and look at how their wins and losses are divvied up: a string of losses to the NBA’s elite here, followed by a couple of wins at home over mediocre at best teams there, followed again by a couple of losses on the road. I’ve seen this show before. This is who this team is.
So now after taking a couple on the chin, New Orleans five-game in ten-cities East Coast trip takes a stop in New York City tonight to play a fading Knicks team. After looking like a playoff team at the start of this 2016-17 season, the Knicks’ stock has been falling. Since Christmas the Knicks have lost seven of eight and if you go back to December 13 they’ve lost 10 of 13 which includes that 102-94 loss against the Pelicans in the Smoothie King Center.
In one of the better efforts of the season, New Orleans held New York to 92 points and a 37 percent shooting performance from the floor as well as 30 percent from three. You won’t believe this at all but Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose both had inefficient nights: Melo had 26 points on 22 shots and Rose had 20 on 21 shots. Even Kristaps Porzingis had a rough go of things with 21 points on 20 shots. Porzingis was New York’s third leading scorer that night, the next highest amount was Justin Holiday with eight points.
The Pelicans, meanwhile, had no such struggles scoring on New York. The Pelicans shot 45 percent from the floor, 41 percent from three and only missed one of their 17 free throws. Anthony Davis, once again, led the way for the Pelicans with another ho-hum 23 point-18 rebound effort, easily dispatching Porzinigis. Tyreke Evans finished behind Davis with 16 points off the bench in only 18 minutes. Evans also picked up five rebounds and four assists in the limited action. And Jrue Holiday, Buddy Hield and E’Twaun Moore each scored 12 points.
Despite trying their hardest, New Orleans still isn’t out of the playoff race. At 10 games under .500, New Orleans is only one behind Portland in the loss column. If the postseason is still the goal for this team, a big if because who knows what this organization wants to do, going to New York and beating a fading Knicks team is a good start toward achieving that goal.
What: Pelicans at Knicks
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
When: January 9th at 6:30 PM Central
How: Fox Sports New Orleans, MSG or 99.5 FM WRNO