NBA schedule and results: Cavs go for 5th straight win vs. Knicks, Warriors host Pelicans
LeBron James and the Cavaliers look for a fifth straight win on Thursday night against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Out west, the red-hot Warriors look for their 11th consecutive victory, hosting the Pelicans in Oakland.
The New Orleans Pelicans enter a Thursday night showdown with the Warriors fresh off a victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans helped the Pelicans overcome the return of Kevin Durant in the 112-104 win, and the importance it holds goes beyond the single game.
The Western Conference playoff competition already looks fierce. Seven playoff squads from a year ago again make up the first through seventh spots in the standings, while the now-healthy Thunder lurk with their 5-13 record. New Orleans, Phoenix, Sacramento and Denver remain in a tier that’s on the outside looking in.
So it’s now or never for the Pelicans — or those other young teams — to make a move. Visiting the Bay Area to face the NBA’s hottest team doesn’t make things easier on New Orleans.
Golden State, winner of 10 straight, needed heroics from Stephen Curry to avoid losing to the young Orlando Magic on Tuesday night, but coach Steve Kerr otherwise has his team humming on both ends of the floor. Somehow, the Warriors are both the team with the best defensive rating (they allow 95.4 points per 100 possessions) and the league-leaders in pace at 100.5 possessions per 48 minutes. That’s a rare feat and one New Orleans must overcome if it hopes to keep pace in the playoff race.
Here’s what is on the Thursday night NBA schedule.
The main course
Pelicans vs. Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET
Keep an eye on the three-point differential throughout the game. New Orleans is one of five teams in the league that allows less than 20 three-point attempts per game. It also falls in the top-10 in allowing opponents to hit just 33.9 percent. If that keeps up, it’ll give Monty Williams‘ squad a solid chance so long as it can find decent enough shots on the other end.
LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony go at it for the first time since their free agency experiences from this summer. While a bit has been made of the Knicks’ triangle offense, it’s their defense that is the more troubling issue, especially as the Cavaliers roll into Madison Square Garden on a four-game winning streak where they’ve average 109.8 points per game.
Pacers vs. Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET
Indiana’s desire to slow the tempo has kept it in games, so much so that it’s put together a solid 7-11 record. With David West and Roy Hibbert healthy enough to play, perhaps the Pacers can gain a little momentum, but they’re still struggling against up-tempo teams. Frank Vogel’s team is coming off a 116-99 loss at Phoenix and hasn’t high-pace teams like the Suns, Nuggets and Celtics. Portland, which has won 11 of 12, could be trouble in transition.