Pregame report: Knicks at Pelicans
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
News and updates prior to Wednesday’s interconference game between New York and New Orleans:
• Monty Williams on the effect of the trade deadline being Thursday: “Like I told Dell (Demps), I’m just focused on the game (tonight). His staff is working around the clock trying to figure out stuff, but it’s not something I’m focused on. They only bring (a significant discussion on a trade) to me when they need to. If something was important enough to bring to me, they would. But right now I’m just focused on our game tonight.”
• Williams said he doesn’t talk to his players about the trade deadline or them hearing their names in rumors, believing it’s unnecessary: “You don’t want to comment on speculation. That’s like soap-opera type stuff. Why would I talk to them about something I heard? I talk to them about things that are concrete and pertain to our team. Ninety-eight percent of (trade rumors) you hear never happens. Marcus (Thornton) got traded today, and the first I heard about it was today. You didn’t hear about that the last two or three weeks.”
• What’s at stake for the Knicks (20-33): With East playoff contenders such as Brooklyn, Charlotte and Cleveland playing better basketball recently, the Knicks’ pursuit of a postseason berth has gained even more urgency, with only 29 games remaining. New York is 3.5 games behind the eighth-place Bobcats (24-30). The Knicks also need to start winning more on the road – they have 18 away games left, but only 11 home tilts.
• What’s at stake for the Pelicans (23-29): New Orleans will try to continue its recent success at home, after going 4-1 in the Smoothie King Center since Jan. 26. The Pelicans only have nine games remaining against the East, a conference they’ve gone an outstanding 14-7 against so far. Players have talked a bit lately about a long-term goal of getting back to .500, but the Pelicans will need to protect their homecourt in order to do so. Only Toronto, Miami and the Lakers have more home games left on their 2013-14 schedule than New Orleans. The Pelicans are 7.5 games out of eighth place in the West.
• As has been the case since early January, the Pelicans’ injury report includes Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith. Smith has been ruled out for the season following knee surgery, while Anderson is awaiting an examination to determine how his herniated disc injury has healed. That’s not expected to happen until next month at the earliest. Holiday continues to be listed as out indefinitely with no timetable for his return. Williams on Holiday: "He's out indefinitely. That hasn't changed since the last time that you guys (media) asked me that yesterday. I don't know why that keeps coming up."
• New York’s injured players include Andrea Bargnani (torn ligament, left elbow) and Kenyon Martin (sore left ankle), who are both listed as out by the Knicks.