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Jack hits tiebreaking free throws as Knicks beat Pelicans

/ 01:49 PM December 31, 2017

New York Knicks guard Jarrett Jack reacts after scoring during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. The Knicks won 105-103. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

NEW ORLEANS — Jarrett Jack figured the Pelicans’ defense was more concerned with Kristaps Porzingis than with him.

Porzingis had just scored seven consecutive points to help the New York Knicks forge a tie with New Orleans in the final minute. With the Knicks looking to take the lead, Jack knew what to do.

He found an opening between Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, drew a foul from Jrue Holiday and made two free throws with 9 seconds left to lead New York past New Orleans 105-103 on Saturday night.

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“KP had just hit a couple of shots, so I knew they weren’t leaving him,” said Jack, a former Pelican. “That left me with a nice lane to drive toward the basket. I made an aggressive play, got fouled and did my job by knocking down two free throws.”

Jack’s play completed a comeback from an eight-point deficit in the final 3 minutes. He finished with 15 points, scoring 13 in 17 minutes of second-half action after scoring two in the first half.

“That’s why they have two halves in this game,” Jarrett said.

The Pelicans had a chance to tie or win at the end, but Davis, who had 31 points and nine rebounds, missed a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.

“That was one of the options,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said of the final play. “We know we didn’t need a three, but if the three was available to us, we were going to shoot it. It was a great shot. We just didn’t knock it in, but I’ll take that shot any time of the day.”

Cousins had 29 points and 19 rebounds, Holiday scored 13 and E’Twaun Moore had 12.

“You have to close out a game like that,” Gentry said. “We had every opportunity to do it, and they did it. We didn’t and they did. They came back and made some shots.”

Holiday began the fourth-quarter scoring with a three-point play that started an 8-0 New Orleans run, giving the Pelicans an 86-79 lead.

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Frank Ntilikina started an 8-2 run that got the Knicks within 88-87 midway through the fourth.

“We missed a lot of open shots in the beginning of the fourth quarter, must have had five or six in a row we couldn’t make and at the end we got down by eight,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “The team kept their poise and they made the plays. They didn’t try to do anything they were incapable of doing.”

The Knicks led by 11 at halftime, but Davis led a surge in the third quarter. He scored 14 points, including seven straight, as New Orleans got within 75-71. Holiday’s 3-pointer helped the Pelicans get within 79-78 after three quarters.

The New York bench outscored the New Orleans reserves 23-8 in the second quarter, and the Knicks led 56-45 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Knicks: New York entered the game having lost a season-worst four games in a row. … Beasley scored 15 points to lead the way as New York’s bench outscored New Orleans’ backups, 42-10.

Pelicans: After playing three home games in four nights, New Orleans plays six of its next eight games on the road. … Cousins has had three games with at least 30 points and 20 rebounds this season, making him the first player to do that since Kevin Love in 2010-11.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Host San Antonio on Tuesday night.

Pelicans: At Utah on Wednesday night.

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TAGS: Basketball, Jarrett Jack, Kristaps Porzingis, NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Sports
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