|-2.5 NO (-104) @ pinnacle|
My 10* Situational Stunner is on the NO Pelicans at 8:10 ET.
The Pelicans and the Knicks each have won THREE games in a row and will meet TWICE over the next five days, beginning Wednesday night in New Orleans. The Knicks are 28-27 (No. 8 seed) but just a half-game back of the No. 6 seed and one game back of the No. 5 seed. Seeds 7-10 enter the "Play-In" tournament but the good news for New York fans is that the Knicks are SEVEN games clear of the dreaded No. 11 seed. Speaking of 11-seeds, that's where the 25-29 sit in the West. However, they are in 'striking distance,' just one game back of the 10-seed, two back of the 9-seed and the back of the 8-seed.
New York just completed a three-game homestand Monday night with a 111-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. PF Julius Randle had 34 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Knicks, while PGs Elfrid Payton scored 20 points and Derrick Rose added 14 off the bench. Julius Randle (23.0-10.7-6.0) and SF Barrett (17.4 & 5.7) have starred all season for the Knicks. The Knicks are 'flying under the radar' with FIVE more players averaging between 9.7 and 12.4 PPG. Both PGs are healthy right now in Rose (12.3 & 3.7 APG) and Payton (12.0 & 3.4 APG) plus three SGs are contributing. Burks adds 12.4 & 4.4, Quickley 11.8 and Bullock 9.7.
Zion Williamson has averaged 35 points during the Pelicans' three-game streak and in Monday's 117-110 victory over Sacramento, scored 30 points, while Brandon Ingram had 34. Both Williamson (26.8 & 7.1) and Ingram (24.0-5.0-5.7) have missed time recently because of injury but the Pelicans are 9-3 in the last 12 games they have both played. The Pelicans received quite a 'haul' from the Lakers in the A.D. trade, as along with Ingram, New Orleans got starting PG Lonzo Ball (14.5-4.2-5.7) and 6-5 SG Josh Hart, who comes off the bench to average 9.2 PPG and an impressive 8.0 RPG. Guard Bledsoe (11.9-3.4-3.8) and center Adams (7.7 & 8.9) were both acquired in trades just prior to the start of the season.
I've said this often, how can the Pelicans be a sub-.500 team? However, this is a good spot for them, catching the Knicks coming off their rout of the Lakers. The Knicks outrebounded the Lakers 47-33 and posted season highs by forcing 24 turnovers and recording 14 steals. The Knicks are playing meaningful games in April for the first time in nearly a decade (last made the postseason in 2013) but "the price is right" here on the Pelicans and they ARE the better team!