Orange and Blue Preview: Knicks at Pelicans (4/14/21)

RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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NY Knicks
Reggie Bullock, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Pelicans vs Knicks: Key Matchups

Game info: game begins at 8 PM at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, April 14th, 2021.

Again, not only will this be the first time the Knicks see this Pelicans team in over a year, but they will be up against Zion Williamson for the first time ever in the regular season.

That means we will have a major “bully ball” matchup on our hands at the power forward position between Williamson and Julius Randle.

The player comparisons don’t end there. We will likely see Duke alums Brandon Ingram and RJ Barrett duel each other on the wings. Last time, Ingram torched the Knicks for 28 points on 11-18 shooting (5-9 from deep) and added 9 assists and 6 rebounds. Barrett struggled, shooting 5-15 finishing with 16 points. The Knicks will definitely need Barrett’s much-improved efficiency to compete. 

Projected Starters:

New York: Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel

New Orleans: Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Steven Adams

For a team that has struggled to play well this season and replicate the general success it had last season, The Pelicans have plenty of high-quality players the Knicks will have to look out for.

In the offseason, New Orleans swapped Jrue Holiday for Eric Bledsoe and Derrick Favors for “King of Atlantis” Steven Adams. They even added OAKAAK Willy Hernangomez, who has assumed most of the team’s backup center minutes.

Louisiana native Elfrid Payton will run the point (*cough* poorly *cough*) for the Knicks. Fellow Cajun Mitchell Robinson will of course be on the sideline with his broken foot. More on that later.

Knicks trade deadline target and potential free-agent acquisition Lonzo Ball will start for the Pelicans assuming he recovers in time from left hip flexor soreness. Ball has seen massive success with his new shooting form this year, which is part of why he would make a great addition to a Knicks team that still shooting, as well as playmaking. Tonight can serve as an up-close audition for a contract offer from the Knicks this summer.