Knicks rally for road win over Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS — Another fourth quarter on the road was beginning to look routinely familiar to the New York Knicks: A blown 16-point first-half lead evaporating into yet another free-fall collapse.
And, then, 7-foot-3 Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis decided he had seen this film before and didn’t like the ending.
Porzingis scored seven of his team-high 30 points in a 52-second span of the fourth quarter to help the Knicks erase a five-point deficit and post a 105-103 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.
“Really, we shouldn’t be celebrating like we did because a postman doesn’t celebrate when he delivers,” Porzingis said, laughing. “But it was good to get a win, finally, on the road. It was a tough game. We were up a lot of points, and they came back and made their run and were up eight (99-91) late in the fourth. We just didn’t want to give up. We just knew we had to fight until the last moment.”
While New York (18-18) needed every bit of Porzingis’ heroics down the stretch, it was veteran point guard Jarrett Jack who also delivered several key plays in the final eight minutes to secure what was only the Knicks’ third road victory in 15 games.
With the game tied at 103 with 27.4 seconds left, Jack worked a pick-and-roll with Porzingis and saw a crease to drive into the lane against Jrue Holiday. Jack was fouled across the head and made both free throws, giving New York a 105-103 lead with 9.1 seconds left.
“I made an aggressive play and got fouled and I just tried to do my part of just knocking down the two free throws late in the ball game,” said Jack, who despite 5-of-13 shooting scored 15 points and nailed all four of his free throw attempts. “Coach drew it up. I came off one screen. K.P. (Porzingis) had hit a few shots down the stretch, so I knew that his man wasn’t going to leave him so I knew I probably had a nice little lane to the basket. I was able to get downhill. I went to the line and knocked them down.
The Pelicans (18-18) had a chance to tie or win the game at the buzzer, but Anthony Davis’ 3-pointer at the buzzer clanged off the rim.
“We were not wanting to give up a three,” New York coach Jeff Hornacek said. “I think it was Lance (Thomas) who ended up making the second effort on Anthony’s shot. I was standing right there, and it looked right in to me, but it hit the rim and was short. I was surprised. It looked like it was going right in.”
Davis led the Pelicans with 31 points. DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and 19 rebounds, but the Knicks’ bench outscored the Pelicans’ reserves 42-10.
The Pelicans trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter but closed the gap to 11 at halftime and to 79-78 entering the fourth quarter.
New Orleans ran off the first eight points of the fourth quarter, as New York missed its first seven shots, to take an 86-79 lead. The Pelicans led 99-91 with 2:54 left, but New York tied the score with a 10-2 run, the last seven points coming from Porzingis on a 3-pointer from the right corner, a dunk and a 16-foot jumper for a 103-101 lead with 38.1 seconds left.
Cousins hit two foul shots to make it 103-103, and Jack responded with two foul shots to put the Knicks up 105-103 at 9.1 seconds. New Orleans decided to go for a 3-pointer.
“That was one of the options,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “The other option was we were going to have (Davis) curl. We know we didn’t need a three, but if the three was available to us, we were going to shoot it. It was a great shot. We just didn’t knock it in. But I’ll take that shot any time of the day.”
“I’m not frustrated,” Davis said. “We’re fine. We’ve just got to go and take care of business on the road.”
NOTES: New Orleans C DeMarcus Cousins has three games this season in which he has scored at least 30 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, which makes him the first player since Kevin Love in 2010-11 to do so. Cousins had 32 points, 20 rebounds, eight assists and five blocks in a 128-120 loss to Dallas on Friday night. ... Six of the Pelicans’ next eight games are on the road. ... The Knicks improved to 3-12 on the road. ... Knicks G Ron Baker received three stitches after catching an inadvertent elbow from Anthony Davis in the first half.