Knicks vs. Pistons (7pm ET Thursday, TNT)
Carmelo Anthony scored 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds Tuesday night, but the Knicks still fell to the Boston Celtics 97-89, as Boston’s deeper bench and fresher legs were too much for New York. The loss was the Knicks’ sixth in their last seven games, and brought their record to 23-28, 11th-best in the East. Carmelo’s scored just 16.8 with 8.8 rebounds during the current skid, and Kristaps Porzingis has been even less effective, scoring 12 a game with 5.8 rebounds, with both men making just 35% of their shots. The Knicks looked like they had a playoff run in them, but the 8th seed is going to keep drifting out of sight if those two can’t find their shots.
Led by 6-11 All Star Andre Drummond, the Pistons are 26-24 and proud owners of the 8th seed in the East following Wednesday’s loss to the Celtics (yes, both teams are coming off losses to the Celtics – weird, right?). Drummond’s been a beast this season, posting 17.3 points and 15.1 rebounds a game (the only one in the league top 15-15), but his 16-13 wasn’t enough, as the Pistons scored just 36 in the first half against Boston, putting themselves in a hole that proved too deep. Adding injury to insult, Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope slipped on a wet spot in the first half, incurring a groin strain that will force him to miss at least tonight’s game.
Lakers vs. Pelicans (9:30pm ET Thursday, TNT)
Kobe Bryant showed flashes of the Kobe of old on Tuesday, scoring 38 points, including the Lakers’ last 8, leading the team to a 119-115 victory of the Timberwolves. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Lakers, and lifted their record to 10-41, second-worst in the league, better only than the 76ers, with whom they’re tied for worst point differential at -10.1. To understand just how bad the Lakers’ offense is, consider that they rank dead last in 2-point field goal percentage, as well as 3-point field goal percentage, and they’re 24th in shots made while being 3rd in shots taken.
The Pelicans came into the season with high hopes, coming off a 45-win season that saw them make the playoffs for the first time in four years, and Anthony Davis was going to be a year older/stronger/better. Oh well… The Pelicans fell to the Spurs Wednesday, and are now 18-30 and in 12th place in the West. Davis had a beast of a game, scoring 28 points, with 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 4 blocks, but it was no match for the two-headed monster that is Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, who combined for 62 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks.