EASY. 3 Reasons Why NY 109 Detroit 90 on 2-28-21

Well that was easy. There was some consternation coming into this one that the Knicks would squander their hard-fought win over Indiana the night before, which vaulted them ahead of Indiana in the standings, and put NY’s record at 17-17 — .500 at last. Detroit – seemingly easy prey – but this game was the second night of a back-to-back. In years past the Knicks would blow this one.

Not this year under this coach.

1. Knicks Took Off in 2nd Quarter with Rose’s Up-tempo Pace

The Knicks took a commanding lead in the 2nd quarter and never looked back. With Elfrid Payton out again with the bruised hamstring, Derrick Rose started again and provided the Knicks a quick, up-tempo pace — as Clyde Frazier says, he’s always going “North to South” — a direct line of attack against the enemy, never side to side (or East to West).

The Knicks led by 5 after the 1st quarter, by 13 at the half, and then by 20 or more points throughout the 3rd and 4th quarters. It was easy — an easy win.

Rose had 14 pts on 6-14 shooting, 5 assists, and a +17.

2. Randle and Barrett Continue to Excel

RJ Barrett continues to excel, breaking out of the multi-game shooting slump he was in during February. Barrett had 21 pts on 8-13 (2-4 from 3, 3-3 in free throws) shooting. His shooting percentages are on the rise. Barrett is now shooting .344 from 3 — a respectable number and getting better. He’s shooting .729 in free throw percentage; also respectable and getting better. Overall he’s averaging 16.3 ppg, 6.2 rebounds.

And Julius Randle continues to play like a Superstar — it is all easy for him. 25 pts on 10-18 shooting (3-6 from 3), 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals. A typical, efficient, dominant, All-Star evening. Fun to watch.

3. Noel Was Herculean

Knicks backup center Taj Gibson was out due to a sprained ankle, and of course Mitchell Robinson is out — so before the game Knick fans were pondering who would play at center behind Nerlens Noel — and how much small ball coach Tom Thibodeau would do. Turns out he didn’t have to play much small ball — Noel put in another Herculean performance — 40 minutes, 8 points (on 4-5 shooting), 11 rebounds, 3 blocks.

4. Knicks Bench

Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks gave the Knicks a lot of scoring and energy off the bench: Quickley with 12 pts on 4-9 shooting, and Alec Burks 16 pts on 7-13 shooting. Obi Toppin (4 pts) was active and looked good in 19 minutes as first man off the bench.

Not on the bench but important as usual: Reggie Bullock, starter, good defense, 9 points (3-5, and 3-3 from 3), a team-high +21 (tied with Randle).

Frank Ntilikina saw daylight again with Elfrid Payton out — but did not particularly light up the boxscore: 0-4 shooting for 0 points in 13 minutes, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal.

The Boxscore



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