The New York Knicks have dropped below .500 and look to halt a four-game losing streak when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday. New York is struggling on the road with a 2-12 record, with the latest setback coming Thursday as it matched a season worst for points allowed in a 119-107 loss to San Antonio.
Journeyman forward Michael Beasley scored 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting in a solid effort against the Spurs, but his last five games are a reminder of his inconsistencies. Beasley scored 32 points in a win over Boston on Dec. 21 before averaging just 7.3 points over the next three contests prior to standing out against San Antonio. The Pelicans saw their three-game winning streak come to an end when they experienced defensive issues and dropped a 128-120 home decision to Dallas on Friday. The Mavericks set a franchise record with 22 3-pointers against a shaky New Orleans squad that allowed a stunning 77 first-half points.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FSN New Orleans
ABOUT THE KNICKS (17-18): Kristaps Porzingis scored 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting against the Spurs and said he was “super mad” about the amount of times defenders hit his elbows without fouls being called. “The attention I‘m getting now, I won’t really get open, open looks much,” Porzingis told reporters. “I have to if I‘m on the block and the double-team doesn’t come, I‘m going to shoot over guys. It makes me super mad that little touches on the elbow and arms, they affect my shot so much. I‘m confused. I‘m thinking I have to change my game.” Porzingis averaged 24.7 points over the previous three games and 24.3 on the season.
ABOUT THE PELICANS (18-17): Coach Alvin Gentry was highly miffed over the poor performance of his club when playing at home against one of the worst teams in the NBA. “We didn’t start with the same energy we normally start with,” Gentry told reporters. “We weren’t as connected defensively as I thought we should have been, and so obviously, they got off to a great start shooting the basketball. That’s just way too many obstacles to overcome.” Frontcourt stars Anthony Davis (33 points) and DeMarcus Cousins (32, 20 rebounds) had big performances against the Mavericks, but the bench was outscored 60-10.
1. Davis averaged 31.5 points and 18 rebounds as the Pelicans won both of last season’s meetings.
2. New Orleans PG Rajon Rondo recorded eight assists against Dallas after establishing a franchise record and career high with 25 two nights earlier against Brooklyn.
3. New York PG Frank Ntilikina recorded a season-high 11 assists against the Spurs.
PREDICTION: Pelicans 114, Knicks 105