5 Things To Know: The Knicks Head to Big Easy for Matchup Against Davis’ Pelicans
8:00 PM EST | Smoothie King Center
TV: MSG Network
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7 FM
5 Things To Know:
1. The Knicks had a day of practice in the Big Easy to regroup after a wild, overtime game in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Carmelo Anthony was ejected in the second quarter, eight flagrant/technical fouls were called, and both teams battled in the second meeting of the season. The Hawks managed to escape with the narrow victory while Derrick Rose led the visiting team with 26 points and Kristaps Porzingis scored 24 points. New York’s loss dropped them to 16-15 on the season and fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
2. Courtney Lee said his sore right wrist is feeling better at Friday’s shootaround. However, Lee will have to test the wrist during his pregame warm-up prior to the contest against the Pelicans. Head coach Jeff Hornacek confirmed that he’s leaning towards starting Sasha Vujacic at the shooting guard spot if Lee is unable to suit up.
3. The Pelicans are hoping for a bounce back season following a disappointing 30-52 campaign last year. By drafting Oklahoma standout Buddy Hield, signing Solomon Hill, E’Twaun Moore, and former Knick Langston Galloway, New Orleans looked to offset the loss of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon in free agency. The most important component to resurgence for the Pelicans is the return of a healthy Anthony Davis, who is considered one of the most gifted player’s in the league. Davis has yet to play 70 games in his career but remains prolific, averaging 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds entering the 2016-17 season.
4. New Orleans is in the midst of its second-best stretch of the season with three straight victories heading into Friday’s tilt against the Knicks. On Wednesday night, the Pelicans knocked off the Clippers in a 102-98 win behind 20 points from Davis. New Orleans currently sits in 11th place in the Western Conference standings at 13-21 on the season.
5. Watch for a new wrinkle from the Pelicans lineup in tonight’s contest. Alvin Gentry may have discovered a winning formula by placing Davis at the center position to feature a small-ball lineup. With Tyreke Evans working his way back and Jrue Holiday manning the point guard spot, Gentry can mix-and-match the rotations to maximize Davis’ impact in games. Davis has expressed the desire to push the pace and get in the open floor when his team goes small. New Orleans ranks 11th in pace of play but only 26th in offensive rating in the NBA.