RJ Barrett scored a career-high 35 points to lead six New York scorers in double figures as the visiting Knicks defeated the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 123-117 on Saturday night.
Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker added 19 each, Taj Gibson had 13 and Julius Randle and Alec Burks had 10 each as the Knicks won for the fifth time in six games.
Jonas Valanciunas had his fifth consecutive double-double with 27 points and 14 rebounds, Devonte’ Graham scored 17, Josh Hart had 16, Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 13 while Kira Lewis Jr. and Herbert Jones added 12 each to lead the Pelicans.
New Orleans lost for the sixth time in seven games as Brandon Ingram (hip contusion) joined Zion Williamson (foot surgery) on the sideline.
The Pelicans closed within three points early in the third quarter, but Barrett had five points and an assist during a 10-0 Knicks run.
Trey Murphy III and Tomas Satoransky each made a 3-pointer and Lewis added four points as New Orleans got within 88-83 at the end of the third quarter.
The Pelicans scored the first two points of the fourth quarter, but Fournier later scored five straight to give New York a 102-91 lead.
Jones had three baskets and an assist as the Pelicans used a 9-0 run to get within 111-109 with 1:51 left.
Barrett made two 3-pointers as the Knicks opened a 119-112 lead with 43.9 seconds left.
The Knicks made four 3-pointers as they raced to a 14-3 lead.
They extended the lead to 12 points on two occasions before Lewis finished the first-quarter scoring with a 3-pointer and a three-point play that pulled New Orleans within 34-28.
New York started fast again the second quarter, scoring the first 10 points.
The Pelicans ended the run with Jaxson Hayes’ put-back, but New York extended the lead to 55-39 on a layup by Mitchell Robinson.
Valanciunas had six points during a 15-5 New Orleans run.
Walker answered with a 3-pointer, but Alexander-Walker hit a 3-pointer and Hart added a layup that cut the Knicks lead to 63-59 at halftime.
–Field Level Media