Pelicans bring sub-par road record into matchup with Knicks
A day after giving thanks for a surprising 117-109 win at Boston, a surprising victory that snapped a six-game losing streak, the New York Knicks welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to Madison Square Garden.
New York turned in a defensive effort that had been sorely lacking against the slumping Celtics, who have lost three straight to fall to 9-9. The Knicks, who allowed at least 115 points in each game during the six-game slide, held Boston to 39 percent shooting while leading by as many as 26.
New York held Boston’s stars to flat-footed showings.
Kyrie Irving scored 22 points but went 9 for 25 shooting, including 2 of 9 from 3-point range, and Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward shot a combined 14 of 36 from the field.
New York survived a late run by Boston, which trimmed a 16-point lead to three with under a minute left before Trey Burke hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining.
“They stuck with it, young fellas on a back-to-back in a hostile environment,” head coach David Fizdale said a night after his team blew a 10-point lead in the third quarter of a 118-114 loss to Portland. “They played through a lot of adversity.”
Burke had 29 points in 32 minutes off the bench, adding 11 assists, with four 3-pointers. His dynamic play helped New York shoot nearly 50 percent from the field and 50 percent (15 for 30) from behind the arc.
“There was one key. It was Trey,” Fizdale said. “He carried us home.”
If the Knicks went into Thanksgiving with one big win over an Eastern Conference contender, the Pelicans’ went into the holiday after a close loss to another beast from the east on Wednesday.
New Orleans fell to Philadelphia after a furious fourth-quarter rally fell one point short in a 121-120 loss.
One free throw short, in fact.
After the Pelicans dug themselves a 15-point first-quarter hole, they rallied to within one after Anthony Davis was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left. He made the first two but missed the third shot, and the Pelicans were left heading into the holiday downtrodden after falling to 2-7 on the road.
Davis was held to 12 points in his lowest scoring output of the season, shooting just 4 from 13 from the field in 41 minutes.
“We’re not coming out with the same energy as we do at home, especially in the first quarter,” Davis told reporters after the game. “We get so far behind that the game has to go perfect for us. We tend to come back but when you’re playing on the road, it’s tough to win on the road as it is.”
Friday’s matchup will be a rematch between the two teams just one week after the Pelicans defeated the Knicks at home in a game that Davis dominated.
The Pelicans star big man had 43 against the Knicks while adding 17 rebounds in a game the Knicks led by 11 in the fourth quarter.
The Pelicans remain on the road after playing the Knicks, heading to Washington to play the woeful Wizards.
“We know that these two teams, New York and DC, aren’t playing well, but DC just won a tough one last night and New York gave us a tough one at home,” Davis said.