for this game

Suns-Pelicans Preview

Nov 21, 2015 - 10:47 PM Coming off their best game of the season, the New Orleans Pelicans may be better prepared to slow down the most successful stretch of Brandon Knight's career.

Knight looks to build off his latest superlative performance when the surging Phoenix Suns visit a Pelicans team that enters Sunday night's matchup with some newfound momentum.

Boosted by Anthony Davis' return from a one-game absence, New Orleans (2-11) halted a five-game losing streak with Friday's 104-90 victory over San Antonio, a result that's been rare during an injury-fueled poor start under new coach Alvin Gentry.

The Pelicans ended the first-place Spurs' six-game win streak and finally showed glimpses of resembling the up-and-coming team that reached the playoffs last season, dominating inside behind Davis' 20 points and 18 rebounds. New Orleans finished with a 46-28 advantage in the paint and outscored San Antonio's reserves 59-26 behind big efforts from Ryan Anderson and Ish Smith.

"It's the first kind of complete game we've played this season where I thought we were aggressive from the start," Gentry said. "I thought we made good decisions. I thought we played at a pace that we like to play at. All of those things were really good. I told the guys this is something we have to try to build on though; we don't need to take a step backwards either. We have to keep trying to take a step forward."

This will be Gentry's first game as a head coach against the Suns since he held that role with them for four-plus seasons before being fired in January 2013.

Phoenix (7-5) should present his new team a challenge after posting its fourth win in five games with Friday's 114-107 victory at Denver, led by Knight's 38 points and 11 rebounds.

After briefly leaving the game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle, Knight recorded 17 of his 24 second-half points in the fourth to help bring the Suns back from a 17-point deficit early in the third.

"I had some pain, but we were down and I wanted to fight through it," he said.

Knight bettered his previous career high of 37 points from a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 12, and he posted his first triple-double two games later in Monday's 120-101 rout of the Lakers. He's averaging 27.6 points while shooting 51.5 percent from 3-point range during Phoenix's 4-1 stretch.

The fourth-year guard's recent binge and Eric Bledsoe's season-long strong play have given the Suns one of the league's most explosive backcourts. Bledsoe had 22 points Friday and is averaging 24.7 on 54.5 shooting over the last six.

Anderson comes in hot as well, having recorded back-to-back 30-point outings. The stretch forward went 6 of 11 from 3 against San Antonio.

"It's not just his shot-making. He's playing with force and he's been good defensively, so he's been good in all of those areas for us," Gentry said.

Smith, a journeyman who played for the Suns in 2013-14, had a career-high 13 assists Friday and is averaging 16.0 points over the last three.

"He's making the right plays at the right time and being aggressive, and that's what we need," Davis said.

The Pelicans won two of three meetings with the Suns last season, with both victories coming at home when Davis played and the loss coming in Phoenix with the star forward sidelined.