NEW ORLEANS — Tyreke Evans wasn’t about to let his recent shooting slump limit his aggression. Certainly not with the reeling New York Knicks in town.
Evans scored 27 points, Anthony Davis added 18, and the New Orleans Pelicans dropped the Knicks to their ninth straight loss, 104-93 on the night of Dec. 9.
“I knew it was going to come,” said Evans, who shot 33 percent during his previous three games, but made 11-of-15 shots against New York. “A few games (were) sluggish, but I felt good tonight just attacking the basket, staying with it and staying aggressive.”
Omer Asik had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 13 points for New Orleans (10-10), which won its second straight to pull back to .500.
Amare Stoudemire scored a season-high 26 points and blocked five shots. Carmelo Anthony had 17 points for New York, which kept the game close into the fourth quarter before fading down the stretch, as the Knicks have done often this season.
“We battled. I keep saying that but we did battle tonight,” Stoudemire said. “We let that game slip away. We had a chance to win. We should have won the game. It seems to be a broken record after every game, but we’ve just got to be mindful of wanting to win and playing to win. We can’t play not to lose.”
Pablo Prigioni scored 17 for the Knicks, who fell to 4-19 with what was also their 10th straight road loss.
No team has more losses than the Knicks. Only Detroit has as many. There were even some fans in Knicks jerseys wearing brown paper grocery bags over their heads, as fans of the “Aints” once did in the Superdome next door when the Saints were at their worst.
“I could never imagine that coming into this season,” Anthony said. “It’s hard to believe it at this point.”
Anthony attempted only 11 shots, fewer than usual, but said he could not take more with the Pelicans routinely throwing double- and even triple-teams at him.
Evans scored eight points in the last 3:05 to keep the Knicks at bay. He began his decisive surge with a layup to finish off a fast break that began when Davis swatted away J.R. Smith’s driving shot in the paint.
That was the last of three crowd-pleasing blocks for Davis, who also cleanly disrupted Samuel Dalembert’s dunk attempt from behind the Knicks’ reserve center.
“We just know we wanted to get this win and get back to .500,” Davis said. “It kind of was a must-win for us, but at the same time we just stuck with our principles and tried to play hard.”
New York was as close as 77-73 after Smith’s 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter. Then New Orleans scored the first six points of the fourth quarter on Holiday’s three-point play as he was fouled on a drive by Stoudemire, and Austin Rivers’ 3-pointer.
The Pelicans shot 50 percent (40 of 80) and dominated the interior, handily outrebounding New York, 43-30, and outscoring the Knicks 54-40 in the paint.
“You just shake your head at that,” Anthony said. “That was the game right there, points in the paint.” New York attempted only 13 free throws and made 10, while the Pelicans were 20 of 26 on free throws.
(BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer)