5 Things to Know: The Knicks Seek Revenge in Matchup Against Face Davis’ Pelicans
1. The Knicks struggled in the second quarter of Saturday’s contest in Indianapolis and couldn’t recover in a 123-109 defeat following an improbable comeback win in Milwaukee on Friday. New York was held to just 14 points in that crucial second period while the Pacers scored 29 after posting 33 in the first frame. At one point, Indiana’s lead grew to 29 before head coach Jeff Hornacek decided to feature a five-man group of Ron Baker, Brandon Jennings, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Willy Hernangomez, and Kristaps Porzingis in the fourth quarter. This unit trimmed the Pacers advantage to 10 points with 1:50 remaining in the contest but the road team was unable to complete the comeback. Indiana dominated the glass by outrebounding New York 53-32 and recording 24 second chance points in the win.
2. Boston knocked off New Orleans on Saturday night behind a 36-point third quarter outburst. Anthony Davis was prolific with 36 points and 15 boards but Isaiah Thomas continued his hot streak in a 38-point night. The Celtics shot 50 percent from the 3-point line on 36 attempts to hand the Pelicans the 117-108 road defeat.
3. New Orleans may have found a gem in signing Donatas Motiejunas to a free-agent contract this past week. Contract negotiations broke down in December for Motiejunas and Brooklyn, which led to his open-market status in January. His previous team, the Houston Rockets were attempting to sign him to a new deal but concerns over back issues eventually caused Houston to renounce his rights. The versatile frontline player now joins a team that could be a good fit for his skill set. Motiejunas made his debut on Saturday night in Boston, finishing with 11 points and five boards in 20 minutes off the bench.
4. The first meeting between the two teams occurred over a week ago in New Orleans. The Knicks could not hold onto a brief second quarter lead in a 104-92 loss to the Pelicans. Carmelo Anthony, Porzingis, and Derrick Rose combined for 67 points but New York shot just 37.6 percent from the floor as a team. Monday’s contest will mark the final matchup for the Pelicans and Knicks, which means the lone trip for Davis to Madison Square Garden. New Orleans enters Monday’s game on a three-game losing streak after winning four consecutive contests. The Pelicans are 14-24 while New York is 17-20 overall on the season, 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.
5. Quietly, Courtney Lee has found a spot at the top of the list of 3-point shooters in the NBA. The Knicks shooting guard is connecting on a league-best 46.7 percent from downtown this year. This achievement could lead to an invitation to the annual 3-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in mid-February.