Panzura postgame wrap: Knicks 123, Pelicans 117

New Orleans was competitive in every game of its three-game homestand, facing some quality competition and opponents off to hot starts in 2021-22, but the frustrating result was the same each night. The Pelicans dropped a third straight single-digit margin game Saturday, this time to New York, after losing to Atlanta and Sacramento earlier in the week by three and four points, respectively.

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram were supposed to be New Orleans’ starting forwards this season, but that injured duo was replaced by Josh Hart and rookie Herbert Jones. The shorthanded Pelicans again played competitively against a quality opponent, but couldn’t overcome the absence of a key offensive weapon (or two).

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

New York’s RJ Barrett pulled up for a right-wing three-pointer and nailed it, giving the visitors a 119-112 lead with 43 seconds left. Prior to that, the Knicks were up 11 with three-plus minutes to go, but the Pelicans surged back to make it a one-possession margin.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Jonas Valanciunas went into beast mode once again, posting his fifth consecutive double-double. The center had 25 points by the late stages of the third quarter, giving him a chance to approach his career high of 34, but finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds.

BY THE NUMBERS

43-37: New Orleans rebounding edge. The Pelicans hustled their way to a 12-5 advantage in offensive boards.

30: New Orleans assists, a season high. The starters combined for 25 of those dimes.

24-6: Pelicans edge in fast-break points.

REVISITING FANDUEL KEYS TO THE GAME

CONSISTENT OFFENSE

Playing without its All-Star forwards, New Orleans shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, but had a couple second-half dry spells that created a double-digit hole. Overall, not a bad performance though at 46 percent from the field and stellar 22/24 foul shooting.

SLOW NEW YORK

The Knicks shot 9/18 on threes in the first half, then were even better after intermission with a 10/15 showing. New York continued to lead the NBA in three-point makes per game, a category it led entering Saturday’s excellence.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

New York supersub Derrick Rose was unusually quiet (five points), but the backcourt battle went fairly decisively anyway to the Knicks, who rode timely hoops by Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker (combined 38 points). New Orleans’ combo of Devonte’ Graham and Nickeil Alexander-Walker totaled 30 points on 11/34 shooting.

#SATURDAYSCORER

In Pelicans.com’s second Saturday breakout-scorer contest of the regular season, Jim Eichenhofer won when Josh Hart exceeded his previous season scoring average (5.5) by dropping in 16 points. The other picks were Daniel Sallerson (Herbert Jones’ 12 points surpassed his average of 4.7 by 7.3), Erin Summers (Naji Marshall) and the fan vote selection (Trey Murphy III). The next #SaturdayScorer contest will be Nov. 13 vs. Memphis. The Pelicans radio staffers are not allowed to pick any New Orleans player more than once all season, over 11 scheduled Saturday games.

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