As the NBA season approaches its conclusion, the teams will look to improve their playoff positioning Saturday night, when New York will host New Orleans in the first game of the season between the teams.
The Western Conference has a jumbled race between the Knicks and the Pelicans, with the Knicks in sixth place and the Pelicans in seventh place.
In the season’s first matchup between the two teams, the Knicks will play the Pelicans on Saturday night.
The Knicks, who returned from the break on Friday with a 115-109 victory over the Washington Wizards, will be playing a back-to-back set. Following a four-game road trip, the Pelicans resumed play on Thursday with a 115-110 defeat of the Toronto Raptors.
The Knicks have won their ninth of their last 13 games, their fourth consecutive victory. Before Julius Randle scored 16 points in a 30-7 run that bridged the first and second halves, they were trailing the Wizards 57-38 just past the halfway point of the second quarter.
With 42.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Jalen Brunson scored a layup to cap a 6-0 run that effectively ended the game.
On the other hand, the Pelicans have been having trouble getting back on track, and their chances of making the playoffs are getting worse.
They are currently two games behind the fifth-place Los Angeles Clippers in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with the Golden State Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Coach Tom Thibodeau of the Knicks stated, “Every game is important.” The players are acting with a sense of urgency. They are aware of the stakes.”
In Thursday’s game against the Raptors, Pelicans coach Willie Green has already made some lineup adjustments, benching Trey Murphy III and starting Josh Richardson, who was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs on February 9.
The Pelicans trailed for over 38 minutes before losing to the Raptors, despite Richardson’s strong performance in the final 28 minutes.
The urgency and significance of each game will be at the forefront of their minds as the Knicks and Pelicans attempt to improve their playoff positioning.
It is unclear whether Giannis Antetokounmpo will play against the Phoenix Suns in Sunday’s NBA game