W2W4: New York Knicks vs. New Orleans Pelicans; February 19th, 2014

Posted by Kenneth Teape on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 with No comments
By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pre-Game News and Notes

New York Knicks vs. New Orleans Pelicans

The Knicks will look to get on track tonight against the Pelicans after a tough loss last night to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Knicks will also be looking to exact some revenge on the Pelicans, who beat the Knicks 103-99 December 1st at Madison Square Garden. In that game the Pelicans didn’t even have rising star Anthony Davis, who left the game with a non-displaced fracture in his left hand, and were still able to get the victory. It will be a tough match-up with Davis in the lineup tonight but the Knicks do match-up pretty well with the current lineup the Pelicans are forced to use. Here are some things to look forward to in the game tonight.

-Players News and Notes

The Knicks, who were without Kenyon Martin prior to the All-Star break will be without him again tonight and most likely for the remainder of the road trip. Martin is dealing with more ankle soreness and the Knicks are missing him immensely. Andrea Bargnani has been out a month now and there is still update on his injured elbow. His timetable is still unknown of when he is expected to return to the court.

Two players to keep an eye on also are Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert. They are the two names brought up most in trade rumors involving the Knicks and if anything is close to being made official on the trade front both players may not be suiting up tonight.

For the Pelicans they will still be without Jrue Holiday. His status has been upgraded and he should be back with the team within a week, but the Knicks will not have to face him. Anthony player they should be happy about not facing is Ryan Anderson. Anderson is out with a back injury. That sound was a sigh of relief by the Knicks, who have been killed by Anderson every time he steps on the court against them.

Match-up Of The Game: Carmelo Anthony/Tyson Chandler vs. Anthony Davis

Kathy Willens/AP Photo
The Knicks front court will have their hands full with Davis no matter who is guarding him. He presents match-up problems against virtually everyone in the NBA as his combination of athleticism and size is not rivaled by many in the league. Davis, in the midst of a breakout career year will cause problems for the Knicks wherever he is stationed defensively. He has the intangibles to make life difficult for Anthony, who would be best suited taking Davis away from the basket. It would help the Knicks a lot by having Davis as far away from the basket as possible to diminish his rebounding and shot blocking abilities.

-Re-Kindle New Orleans Magic

Over the weekend during the All-Star festivities two Knicks put on offensive shows. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Anthony both set the court ablaze with hot outside shooting. Anthony set an All-Star game record with eight three-point makes while Hardaway scored 36 points in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Friday night. It would go a long way if both players were able to put on performances reminiscent of that tonight against a Pelicans team that allows teams to shoot a high percentage against them at 46.2 percent.

-Woody’s Rotation

Last night we saw Mike Woodson go against his normal rotations and ride the hot hands throughout the second half. It helped get the Knicks back into the game but also could have been a problem holding that lead; Woodson made only two subs the whole fourth quarter, as Pablo Prigioni played the last 14:29 of the game without a rest. Woodson needed to use the players that were performing, but at what cost?
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports

Tonight it will be worth watching how he monitors minutes. The Knicks are engaged in trade rumors with seemingly the whole NBA so until the game starts they are not even 100 percent sure which players will be taking the court for them tonight. It would benefit him and the team greatly if he dipped a little deeper into the bench tonight and gave some more minutes to players like Jeremy Tyler and Toure’ Murry with it being the second game of the back-to-back set.

-Perimeter Play

Even without Holiday, the Pelicans still possess strong perimeter play. They start a capable replacement in Bryan Roberts and have Eric Gordon alongside him in the backcourt. The real problem for the Knicks is former Rookie of the Year winner Tyreke Evans. In the first meeting this season Evans scored 24 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter, to go along with seven assists and four steals.

The Knicks will need a spirited effort from their perimeter players to keep up with the Pelicans. An improved performance from J.R. Smith, who is very vocal about his dislike of the mask he needs to wear to protect the broken bone in his face, should become more comfortable with it in the coming days. He was pretty much useless Tuesday in his first game with the mask, shooting 2-8 and grabbing five rebounds to go with one assist.