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The Eastern Conference is going to be a dogfight all season, and already jockeying for position are the New York Knicks. Facing the New Orleans Pelicans on the second leg of a back-to-back, the New York Knicks must maintain their positive momentum without succumbing to fatigue.
New York feels strong after a six-point victory where they hit the over, while New Orleans showed their quality against a shorthanded Memphis team.
There’s plenty to break down on this exciting NBA Saturday night, with the opportunity for a rewarding same-game parlay.
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It seems easy for fans to write off the New York Knicks, but when they face the New Orleans Pelicans, they are far from an underdog.
After narrowly losing to the Boston Celtics in their opening game of the season, they bounced back to defeat their rivals, the Atlanta Hawks. Most impressively, they transitioned from a defense-heavy game against Boston to a run-and-gun affair with Atlanta.
The New York Knicks and New Orleans Pelicans have split their last four meetings in the previous two seasons. The Knicks’ victories in that time have come by an average margin of 19.0, while the Pelicans’ won by 9.5 points.
Yes, the difference maker in this match will be Zion Williamson, a physical force of nature that none in the NBA have matched. But the Knicks have plenty to challenge the Pelicans on both ends of the court - particularly their newfound three-point shooting.
Julius Randle has come out of the gate slowly, averaging 15.5 points on 16.0 field goal attempts per game and 28.1% efficiency. But he’s been covered by the emergence of Immanuel Quickley, who has averaged 17.5 points on 44.0% from the field and 55.0% from three.
At the least, Randle is still a force on the glass, averaging 11.5 rebounds per game, with 3.0 coming on the offensive glass.
Starting point guard Jalen Brunson is coming off of a solid performance, posting 31 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds. Without Jose Alvarado available, the Pelicans don’t project to have the perimeter defense to limit Brunson on offense.
It’s not been an easy game for the New York Knicks, but the Pelicans love to play tough in the paint, and so do the New York Knicks. In their current form, New York looks promising.
After a bronze medal-winning performance at the FIBA World Cup this past summer, RJ Barrett has looked engaged and improved through New York’s first two games of the season. After leading his team in scoring through two games, Barrett’s growth is a cause for intrigue.
With Randle struggling from the field, Barrett has stepped up. Through two games, he’s averaged 25.0 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds, on 48.6% from the field and 50.0% from three.
He’s struggled with his three-point shooting throughout his career, but his opening two games have been promising, hitting 2.5 threes per game on 50.0% efficiency.
He faces a Pelicans team on Saturday night that he was impressive against last season, averaging 26.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in two meetings. He shot 50.0% from the floor then but was just 25.0% from three-point range.
His productivity without the three-point shot is encouraging, and if he maintains his current form, clearing 20.5 should be a breeze.
Every year, fans and bettors get excited over Zion Williamson, only to be disappointed when he goes down with a long-term injury. Now on a more balanced New Orleans Pelicans team, Williamson looks rejuvenated and motivated to get his career back on track.
Williamson has played so few games in his career, but his matchups with New York have always been a highlight. In two matches, he’s averaged 29.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 6.0 assists on 54.8% shooting from the field.
He showed some rust but much promise in his first game of the season, posting 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in 32 minutes of play.
The Pelicans are trying to take advantage of tempo to find Williamson better looks, ranking ninth in the league in pace (102.1).
This Knicks team only saw minor changes after the summer but isn’t currently on track to beat out their 19th-ranked defense from last year. Williamson will have plenty of opportunities to score.
A Same Game Parlay in NBA betting combines multiple wagers on one game, including point spreads, totals, and player props. If all selections within the same game are correct, the bet wins, offering higher potential payouts but with greater risk.
Who: New York Knicks vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
When: 7:00 PM EST, Saturday, October 28th, 2023
TV: NBA TV
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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