Fresh off a very disappointing 98-93 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the New York Knicks (20-33, 9-15 away) must travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans (23-29). After a rocky ending to the first half of the season, Mike Woodson did not reassure New York ownership that he’s the right man for the job. After playing three solid quarters of basketball, the Knicks fell back into their lazy defensive ways which led to 32 points for Memphis. Carmelo Anthony’s final stat line (32 points, 11 rebounds) looks impressive, but he was very sluggish during the fourth quarter and deferred big shots to JR Smith and Pablo Prigioni (gulp). Anthony did play 42 minutes, but every game has meaning and the Knicks cannot afford to squander away fourth quarter leads.
The New Orleans Pelicans ranks towards the middle of the league in all offensive and defensive categories. Led by Anthony Davis, the Pelicans present an uber athletic power forward that will give Anthony fits on the defensive end. The Pelicans also feature a three guard lineup of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans that is extremely difficult to defend.
Current NBA odds have the Pelicans pegged as four-point home favorites. In fact, it’s hard not to like the Pelicans in this game. The Knicks have lost six of their last seven games and lost their only road back-to-back game of the year in early January. Anthony looked completely gassed during the fourth quarter and more travel time will not do him any favors. I like the Pelicans in this match-up. Expect the Mike Woodson replacement rumblings to continue.
Pick: Pelicans -4