Holiday's return sparks Pelicans past Knicks, 99-91
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Jrue Holiday returned from a toe injury and took a hard shot to the eye for his trouble. Still, he managed to provide the Pelicans with some relief from their recent rut before absorbing the latest blow to his health.
Holiday scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and New Orleans snapped a three-game slide with a 99-91 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night.
Returning from a two-game absence because of his toe injury, Holiday took over a tight game in the final minutes, scoring six points during a 9-0 run that gave New Orleans a 93-85 lead.
But when he walked off the court in the final minute, his right eye was nearly swollen shut because of a collision with Kristaps Porzingis.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said team doctors needed to examine Holiday's orbital socket - just the latest medical matter for his injury-decimated team.
''I'm going to send out an all-points bulletin to anybody in the French Quarter or anywhere else; we need a voodoo doctor or something here,'' Gentry said. ''We've got to find the bones under this place or do something.''
Still, the Pelicans won for the first time this season when scoring fewer than 100 points. New Orleans had been 0-33 in such games.
Former Knick Toney Douglas scored 16 points and Luke Babbitt added 14 for the Pelicans.
Carmelo Anthony scored 22 for New York, while Robin Lopez added 17 points. Porzingis had 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
A little boy ran onto the court during a stoppage in play in the final minutes and went straight to Anthony, giving the Knicks star a brief hug. Anthony kindly patted the boy on the head.
''It was a little kid,'' Anthony said when asked about his affectionate response to the child. ''I was shocked. I didn't really know who was it until I actually looked over and saw that it was a kid.''
New York was in position to win when Jose Calderon's 3 capped an 8-0 run that put the Knicks up 85-84 with 3:05 left. But New York then missed two shots and turned the ball over twice while the Pelicans surged back in front.
After hitting a pair of free throws to put New Orleans ahead 88-85, Holiday added a layup in traffic and a tough, turnaround fade from 17 feet. The Pelicans weren't threatened after that.
New York led much of the game and by as many as 10 points in each half, but labored through costly dry spells.
New York was up 59-49 after Lopez's dunk in the third quarter. Then Holiday, Babbitt and Dante Cunningham each hit 3s during a 15-0 run that put New Orleans back in front.
''We should have won this game. There's no if, ands or buts about that,'' Anthony said, noting that the injury-decimated Pelicans are missing most of their key players. ''Most of the guys (still available to play) on their team - no disrespect to them - they play a limited role. They play limited minutes.''
The chief of arena security, Russ Bourgeois, declined to comment on the incident in which the boy ran onto the court to hug Anthony.
In New York City, the so-called ''Calvin Klein Law'' subjects those who walk onto the court during a game to arrest and fines. The law was passed in 2003 after designer Calvin Klein walked onto the court at Madison Square Garden and attempted to chat with Knicks player Latrell Sprewell.
''I think it was because he was a little kid, they just let him go,'' Anthony said. ''Definitely a security issue though, for sure.''
The boy ran back into the stands and up stairs past an apparent female guardian, who, looking embarrassed, appeared to usher him toward the exits.
Knicks: Two of Porzingis' blocks thwarted apparent dunk attempts - one by Alonzo Gee and one by Alexis Ajinca. ... Baton Rouge native Langston Galloway had eight points and four assists in 22 minutes with a contingent of home-state fans in the stands wearing blue and orange T-shirts with his name on them. He appeared to twist his right ankle in the fourth quarter and had to come out of the game.
Pelicans: Cunningham and Ajinca each scored 12 for the Pelicans. ... Gee scored nine points in the first half but left the game in the third quarter with a right quadriceps injury and did not return. ... F Ryan Anderson missed his fifth straight game with groin soreness in both legs, while guard Norris Cole missed his 11th straight with back soreness. ... New Orleans put its 36th different starting lineup of the season on the court, opening with Holiday and Babbitt at guard, and Ajinca at forward and Omer Asik at center.
Knicks: Visit Dallas on Wednesday.
Pelicans: Visit San Antonio on Wednesday night.