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Knicks 95, Pelicans 87: Scenes from a matinee with strong conclusion

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Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks won! It looked for a while like the Knicks might snooze away a Sunday matinee, but the Knicks snapped out of a sluggish start and played some nice defense down the stretch to hold off Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. Recap coming later, but here are some things we saw:

Kristaps Porzingis was very excited -- maybe a little too excited, but only a little -- to face Davis, and went at him over and over. He rimmed out some very nice takes early on, then kiiinda started to force it:

That's not so bad-- none of it was so bad -- but Porzingis finished 4-15. He and the Knicks mostly limited Davis to jumpers, but Davis hit a lot of those. He's really good. Kristaps did okay against him.

That said, the Knicks didn't relent from going at Davis as a defender, which made for three of the more surprising/impressive plays of the afternoon:

Back to the first-half trends: New York's defense was very slow, very switch-happy, and very bad:

This would improve.

Derek Fisher experimented with pretty much every possible frontcourt combination, using Lou Amundson for a bit, then Kyle O'Quinn for a bit, then going small with Porzingis at the 5 for much of the second quarter, then turning to Kevin Seraphin. New Orleans' outside-shooting frontcourt of Davis and Ryan Anderson kinda dizzied Fish, but he eventually turned to Kevin Seraphin and Seraphin, on a day he and the Knicks paid special tribute to Paris, went off:

Buckets, defense, passing -- Seraphin provided all of it, and often against Davis. Fisher threw a lot at the wall (and took some off of it, ditching Lopez because of the Pelicans' spread-out lineups), and Seraphin definitely stuck to that wall. Huge performance.

The game remained close and New York's offense kinda tightened with several young players facing full-court pressure. New York survived, though, thanks to this a cruuuuucial and difficult bucket by Jerian Grant:

(Nice swinging, Melo.)

New York's defense sealed the win, though. They got no buckets in the final minutes, so it's nice that they prevented some by fighting through picks, ceasing the unnecessary switches, and forcing tough shots:

Galloway also took Jrue Holiday's cookies on the Pelicans' last-gasp possession.

We've seen better games, but that was an okay one. Every Knick played, and, well, enough of them were ready to do so. Recap later!