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Brandon Ingram looks to lead underdog Pelicans against Knicks

B.I. was unavailable in the last meeting against New York, a close 123-117 loss

New Orleans Pelicans v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks are both entering tonight’s matchup on two-game losing streaks.

For the Pelicans, the issue is simply that they can’t find a way to beat Eastern Conference teams on the road. They’re now 1-8 in such games, after falling to the Celtics on MLK Day. Although New Orleans will head home after tonight, three of the next six contests include matchups in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Detroit.

The Knicks had won five of six games before suffering successive losses to the Hornets and Timberwolves. The Minnesota defeat was particularly hard for New York fans because their team had seized control of the game after a monster third quarter but failed to close well.

The Pelicans and Knicks last met during the second week of this season. New York led wire-to-wire in their 123-117 victory, riding a career-best scoring night of 35 points from RJ Barrett.

This time round, things could go differently. Although Barrett is enjoying the best month of his career, the Knicks will be without Derrick Rose. In addition, Cam Reddish, a recent trade acquisition, will be out with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, the Pelicans will have the services of their star player.

Brandon Ingram didn’t play in the Oct. 30 matchup, but the Pelicans made things interesting due to 27 points from Jonas Valanciunas and the rest of the starters all scoring in double figures.

Since Jan. 6, Ingram is averaging 24.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists.

It’ll be interesting to watch whether Devonte’ Graham, who was listed as questionable with ankle soreness on yesterday’s injury report, is able to play. If he can’t go, who does Willie green replace him with in the starting lineup?

During a 3-game absence in November, Tomas Satoransky filled in for Graham. However, the six-year veteran has been out of the rotation, not receiving game action since New Year’s Day. Instead, Jose Alvarado has gotten run at the backup point guard position. There’s a chance that the rookie draws the first start of his professional career.

As of this writing, the Pelicans are 3.5-point underdogs. New Orleans has played poorly on the road against the East, but if Ingram and Valanciunas produce typical results, it’s not difficult to imagine the Pels returning home from this road trip with a win. These Knicks aren’t the same caliber of a tough opponent as last year’s surprising fourth seed team.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (16-28) at New York Knicks (22-23)

When: January 20, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, NBA League Pass

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.