Knicks-Pelicans Preview

The Associated Press

After hosting All-Star weekend, the New Orleans Pelicans are looking to pick up where they left off before the break.

The slumping New York Knicks' second-half opener didn't go as planned.

Anthony Davis tries to lead the Pelicans to a rare season sweep of the Knicks as these teams meet in the Big Easy on Wednesday night.

New Orleans (23-29) has played well over the last four weeks, winning eight of 13 while holding opponents to 95.9 points per game. The team is surely looking forward to getting back on the court for the first time since last Wednesday's 102-98 victory at Milwaukee.

"We just have to grind now," guard Anthony Morrow said. "All the things that we struggled with in the first half of the season in terms of execution, we're getting better at it, but we really need to buckle down here."

The Pelicans are in 12th place in the Western Conference, 7 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff berth. While the injured Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson don't appear to be getting any closer to returning, New Orleans is still hoping to get back in the mix.

"We're just trying to get better," coach Monty Williams said. "Our focus is always on the next step, and as a coach I'm mindful that we have some time still to make improvements individually, as a team and with our record - and that's our focus.

"Right now, with us, the only thing we've said is 'anything can happen.' That's how we work. ... We don't talk about anything else but the next game."

New Orleans won 103-99 at New York on Dec. 1 despite losing Davis to a broken left hand in the first half. Anderson scored 31 in that game while Tyreke Evans added 24, leading the Pelicans to their second win over a 10-game stretch in the series.

New Orleans hasn't swept the season series from the Knicks since 2007-08, and won the only game in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.

New York (20-33) saw its first-half woes carry over in Tuesday's 98-93 loss at Memphis, its third consecutive defeat. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 23 points off the bench and Carmelo Anthony had 22, but the Knicks dropped to 1-6 six this month after shooting 6 of 27 from 3-point range.

New York rallied from an 18-point deficit to take a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter but was outscored 21-9 in the final 5:21 and allowed the game's final seven points in the last 46 seconds.

"It's very disappointing," Anthony said. "To fight our way back and be up 5, 6 with a couple of minutes on the clock, and give it away is very disappointing. But we have to put this one behind us."

Anthony has struggled from the field during the losing streak, going 25 of 69 (36.2 percent) from the floor. He is averaging 28.3 points while shooting 53.0 percent over his last three games in New Orleans.

Davis has averaged 23.2 points in helping the Pelicans win four of five at home. New Orleans is 12-9 when he scores at least 22 compared to 8-15 when he doesn't.

The Pelicans have won 14 of their last 19 against the East, including seven of eight on their own court. New York is 5-15 versus the West.

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