NBA Picks: Pelicans vs. Knicks Sunday

Jason Lake

Sunday, December 1, 2013 1:42 PM GMT

The New York Knicks admit they’re in a dark place right now. Things will get darker if they can’t beat the New Orleans Pelicans and the NBA lines on Sunday.

Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to November 29 inclusive:

13-15 ATS

4-1 Totals

We’ve all had our bad days. When things go wrong, we’re hard-wired to feel lousy. Then we fight until things go right – or until they get so bad that we cave in. The New York Knicks (3-12 SU, 4-11 ATS) are rapidly approaching that second scenario. They’ve lost eight games in a row at 1-7 ATS and are begging to be faded again this Sunday when the New Orleans Pelicans (7-8 SU, 5-9-1 ATS) visit Madison Square Garden. New York is a 1-point dog on the NBA odds board as we go to press.

[gameodds]5/248650/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Dark Entries

You know your team’s in trouble when it closes its doors to the media after a game. That’s what happened Wednesday night after New York (+9.5) fell 93-80 to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Centre. For 20 minutes, the Knicks kept the vistors’ dressing room closed while they talked things over. It wasn’t exactly a festive occasion. 

“The easiest thing for us to do is just to crumble right now,” Carmelo Anthony told reporters afterward. “We are in a dark place but we have to get out of this. We just have to get out of it.” 

Those feelings were echoed by every Knick who exited that dressing room – except for Metta World Peace, who plays on a different level than most mere mortals. And wouldn’t you know it, New York came out like gangbusters on Friday and smashed the NBA odds at the expense of the Denver Nuggets, cashing in as an 8.5-point puppy at the Pepsi Center. One problem: Denver won the game 97-95. Sad trombone.

Fly Pelican Fly 

Maybe getting back to MSG will help the Knicks get their heads screwed on straight – although that 0-7 ATS home record and those very unhappy home fans aren’t terribly inspiring. If New York overcomes the odds on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET), it might be up to the Pelicans to just hand over the cash. They’ve won four of their last six games, but they’re also 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine.

Fans in New Orleans had high hopes coming into the 2013-14 campaign, following the additions of All-Star PG Jrue Holiday and combo guard Tyreke Evans. But there was also a general acknowledgment that the Pelicans backcourt could be overcrowded with SG Eric Gordon already in town, and Evans (14.3 PER) has indeed struggled in his sixth-man role, scoring 16.0 points per 36 minutes and hitting just two of his 16 trey attempts.

The Light that Will Cease to Fail

There’s enough firepower on the Pelicans roster to cover for Evans – starting with PF Anthony Davis (28.5 PER), who’s quietly putting together an MVP-quality season with 20.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per 36 minutes. But the New Orleans defense drops off sharply after Davis. In terms of efficiency, the Pellies are No. 7 in the league on offense (104.7 points per 100 possessions) and No. 20 (102.6 points allowed/100) at the other end of the floor.

If you love those NBA totals, you’ll love New Orleans driving the OVER to a 10-5 record, including seven of the last eight games. But this also throws a monkey wrench into any thought of avoiding the point spread with the Knicks (No. 24 on offense and defense). They’ve got the UNDER at 9-6 on the season and six of their last seven. Better stick with fading New York until we see some consistent signs of life out there. It’ll happen eventually. Maybe they should buy one of those full-spectrum sun lamps.

NBA Pick: Take the Pelicans –1 (+100) at Pinnacle