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Can Jose Alvarado’s special Friday night give Pelicans boost in difficult matchup with Knicks?

There are several other factors that could help New Orleans score an unexpected victory too

New Orleans Pelicans v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans will look to cash in a rest advantage over the New York Knicks in tonight’s matchup.

The Pelicans had a day of rest yesterday. The Knicks did not, beating the Washington Wizards, 115-109, behind Julius Randles’ 46 points seven made 3s.

The Knicks are 5-4 on the second night of back-to-backs. Their defense remains stout, holding opponents to 110.9 points per game, but their offense wanes somewhat. They average 112.1 points per game, though, that’s due to a good free throw rate (26.4 FTA) — from 3-point range, they’re connecting on only 29.9% of their attempts.

The Knicks have also fared much better on the road (18-12) than at home (16-15).

A Pelicans’ victory isn’t close to any guarantee, however.

New Orleans has really struggled to manufacture wins away from the Smoothie King Center. They’re 3-11 on the road since the calendar flipped to 2023 and 10-20 on the season overall.

Also, Josh Hart will be in a Knicks uniform. He’s posted averages of 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists since arriving in New York via a deadline trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

If you may recall, Hart poured in 17 points against the Pelicans earlier this season while with Portland, his lone appearance against New Orleans since the McCollum trade.

One ray of sunshine, the Pelicans three most oft-used lineups from Thursday’s 115-110 loss to the Toronto Raptors all posted positive net ratings.

  • CJ McCollum-Josh Richardson-Brandon Ingram-Herb Jones-Jonas Valanciunas (starting lineup) in 15 minutes: +14.5 net rating (96.9 offensive rating, 82.4 defensive rating)
  • CJ McCollum-Trey Murphy-Naji Marshall-Herb Jones-Jonas Valanciunas in eight minutes: +5.6 net rating (122.2 offensive rating, 116.7 defensive rating)
  • Jose Alvarado-Trey Murphy-Brandon Ingram-Naji Marshall-Larry Nance in seven minutes: +37.5 net rating (125.0 offensive rating, 87.5 defensive rating)

Willie Green and the coaching staff could be onto something, with inserting Josh Richardson in place of Trey Murphy into the starting lineup.

In some fun news, Jose Alvarado had his high school jersey retired at Christ the King in Queens, New York on Friday.

Perhaps the good aura from this special event follows the Pelicans into Madison Square Garden?

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (30-30) at New York Knicks (34-27)

When: February 25, 6:30 p.m. CT

Where to watch: Bally Sports New Orleans, League Pass

Where to listen: WRNO 99.5

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.