The Knicks play the third of four straight home games, this time against the Pelicans, hoping to pull things together after two losses.

The New York Knicks (22-23) host the New Orleans Pelicans (16-28), looking to get back on track. The Knicks suffered a brutal loss at the hands of the Timberwolves on Tuesday, fumbling the game away on both ends of the floor. New York will be without Nerlens Noel (knee) for tonight’s game and we will likely have to wait at least one more game (likely more) to see the debut of the newest Knick, Cam Reddish, who is nursing an ankle injury.

The bottom-feeding Pelicans find themselves third from the worst in the Western Conference standings in another lost season for this young squad. NOLA has some nice pieces in Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Jonas Valanciunas, but it lacks the requisite talent to be competitive in the playoff hunt. The main story surrounding the Pelicans’ season is the Zion Williamson saga, which gets stranger and stranger each passing week. With Zion apparently struggling with weight, not making progress on recovering from his foot injury, and his family reportedly disgruntled in New Orleans, things are not looking good for the Pelican’s future that was expected to be so bright.

New Orleans has dropped five-straight road games and could be without point guard, Devonte’ Graham, due to left ankle soreness.

Star-J Barrett

In the Knicks’ first matchup of the season against the Pelicans, back on October 30th, RJ Barrett posted a season-high and career-high 35 points on six of eight shooting from behind the arc, while also adding in eight rebounds and six assists, per ESPN Stats. Although a lifetime ago at this point of the season, keep an eye on Barrett to have another big showing tonight against a Pels team that ranks 23rd in the NBA in Defensive Rating and 21st in points allowed, per NBA Stats.

Barrett, after three consecutive 25-plus-point outputs against the Spurs, Mavericks, and Hawks (all Knicks wins), the young neophyte has struggled in his past two games, shooting a combined 13-of-34 with 13 total turnovers, per ESPN Stats. In 11 games where Barrett scores 20-plus points, the Knicks are 8-3 and, when he doesn’t, the Knicks record is an abysmal 14-20. Despite the fact that the 21-year old-hasn’t taken the third-year leap that many would have hoped, his value to this team is undeniable and his performance tonight will go a long way in determining whether the Knicks emerge victorious.

PrizePicks of the Night

The Knicks Wall’s exclusive partnership with PrizePicks presents the pick of the night. Tonight’s pick has to be RJ Barrett, a career 18.8 points per game scorer in four games against New Orleans, including his 35-point outing a few months back against the Pels. Barrett is projected for 18.5 points tonight, via PrizePicks. Both his career averages against the Pelicans and this month’s averages are greater than tonight’s projections. Combining “over” on Barrett points and “under” on Josh Hart’s points would double your entry.

Use promo code “TKW” and take advantage of a 100% deposit match, up to $100, with The Knicks Wall’s partnership with PrizePicks.

MSG Woes

After playing the majority of last season without fans due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it was a welcome sight to see fans back in NBA arenas, especially at the Mecca. This season, for whatever reason, the Knicks have been worse at Madison Square Garden than on the road, posting an 11-13 home record thus far, joining the Hawks and the lowly Pistons and Magic as Eastern Conference teams with below .500 home court records.

The Knicks, currently on a four-game homestand that features all winnable games, have struggled, dropping games to the Hornets and Timberwolves and playing some uninspired ball. As we know from the Julius Randle saga a couple of weeks back, the boo birds have already been audible at the Garden and a lackluster performance tonight might bring a low point in the season in that department. To me, this is a huge game for the Knicks to go out and dominate and prove that they deserve to be in the conversation for the playoffs. Good teams do not lose games like this.


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