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Game Preview: Pelicans at Knicks — 02/25/23

Keep it coming, boys

[We had a bit of a mix-up, and two guys wrote previews for Saturday’s game. I think they’re both good, so we’re posting both of them. Enjoy! —Ed.]

I remember the Vlasic pickle spokesman being a pelican with a cigar who talks like Groucho Marx. When I looked it up, I saw he’s not a pelican, but a stork. What is it about pelicans that lends itself to confusion? Take the New Orleans Pelicans, for instance.

For a slight majority of their franchise history, they were the New Orleans Hornets. Then they spent some time in Oklahoma City, where they were the Thunder before the Thunder, essentially, although they were never called the Thunder; they were still the Hornets. Then they left OKC so Seattle could leave Seattle for OKC, so the billionaire who owned Starbucks didn’t have to spend his own money to make more of it — instead he could just abandon the city the Supersonics called home for 40 years and partner his greed with that a city who got a taste of what it’s like to lose a team and were entirely willing to subject someone else to that pain.

If you find that history a bit hard to follow, this season the Pelicans continue to honor their culture of WTFedness. For much of this season New Orleans was breathing the same rarefied air as Denver and Memphis near the top of the Western conference. Then injuries hit, followed by a 10-game losing streak. Today the Pels have lost 13 of 17 and are only 1.5 games ahead of the 11th-seed, the land of playofflessness. It’s enough to make a girl dizzy.

The optimist would point out New Orleans has won four of seven and are rounding into better health; the team the Knicks face tonight isn’t the one that took that 10-game slide. Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum are both back and bucketeering, Jonas Valančiūnas is a legit Leviathan down low and Herb Jones and Josh Richardson bring defense on one end and bricklaying from deep on the other.

All these words so far and no mention of Zion Williamson? The future Knick is out with a hamstring problem expected to sideline him for weeks. Impressive rookie Dyson Daniels is listed as questionable as he recovers from a sprained right ankle. Pelicans of note who will be available: Trey Murphy III, outta the Kenny Smith school of cats capable of competing in the 3-Point and Slam Dunk contests, and New York’s own Jose Alvarado, who also plays for the Puerto Rican national team. Fun trivia: do you know who gave a U.S. Dream Team their most lopsided L ever?

The Knicks welcomed Mitchell Robinson back to action in D.C. and the man in the middle looked like he never left, posting a double-double. Hopefully Julius Randle wears the same socks tonight as he did last night. Hopefully the Knicks win: last night was an almost-perfect storm in the standings, as not only did New York win but Cleveland, Brooklyn and Miami all lost. The Knicks are actually closer to the fourth-seeded Cavaliers right now than the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks. Keep on keeping on, Knicks!