MAN ON FIRE! Knicks RIP Pistons by 44 Points: NY 125 Det 81

Julius Randle came out ON FIRE — scoring 20 points in the first quarter on an array of 3’s and 2-pt jumpers, and teamed with give-and-go’s to Reggie Bullock who also lit it up from 3. Elfrid Payton penetrated and distributed and RJ Barrett added to the scoring with Nerlens Noel providing an AEGIS defensive wall inside. If you missed the first 6 minutes of this game, you turned it on to a 24-3 Knick lead. In a minute it was 30-7.

5 Reasons why the final score was NY 125 Detroit 81:

1. TEAM ON FIRE; NY Maintained Big Lead Throughout

The title of this article is “Man on Fire” as metaphor and corollary between the Denzel Washington movie and Julius Randle, but it could have easily been “Team on Fire”. By the end of the 1st quarter it was 41-15 NY.

However this is the NBA, where the 3-pt shot allows teams to get right back into the game. That remained the only question — could NY maintain this big lead. The Knicks went up by 30 points, 51-21, in the 2nd before Detroit whittled their way to 19 points back by the half.

Detroit pulled to within 17 points several times early in the 3rd quarter but the Knicks soon pulled back away. As the 3rd quarter came to an end, RJ Barrett came up with a big steal to send it the other way; that led to a Julius Randle penetration and kick to Reggie Bullock for a 3 and a Knick 27 point lead at the end of 3 — NY 88 Detroit 61.

2. Knicks Knock on All-Time Team Record for Winning Point Total

It was then all about the Knicks maintaining that 20-something-point lead for the first 4 minutes of the 4th quarter — if so the game would be over; if Detroit was going to make a run they’d need to do it or face garbage time. NY maintained the lead — it was NY 98 Det 69 with 7:58 left and garbage time.

But still not in coach Tom Thibodeau’s eyes. He waited until 6 minutes left to bring in Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, and the rest of the 3rd team. By that time Knick play-by-play man Kenny Albert was talking about the all-time team record for winning point total — 48 points done 3 times previously. Walt Frazier asked, “was I there?” and Kenny Albert told him yes you were, in a game in 1972 in Philadelphia; Clyde scored 17 and Bill Bradley had 26. “That was a good bus ride back,” mused Frazier. NY also won games by 48 points in 1968 over … Detroit, and in 1994 over Philly. Albert followed up that Frazier had played in the 1968 game vs Detroit; he scored 16 points.

3. Knox a Walking ‘Nothing-But-Net 3’

Kevin Knox came in and started lighting it up from 3 — three straight 3’s with nothing but net.

Obi Toppin also played well in this game — picking up from where he left off the night before against Dallas. All is good in future-Knick-forwards land.

4. New Shot Blocker Pelle: The Final Attraction

But the game wasn’t nearly over. The 7’1 shot blocker Norvel Pelle whom the Knicks had just signed earlier in the day to be the backup to Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson while Mitchell Robinson is out — was put into the game with a just over a minute left.

On his first first scoring attempt, Pelle was fouled on a drive and his finger hit the backboard as he went down — dislocating it. It looked like a gruesome injury — with Pelle seen on the replay looking at his finger aghast. The season looked over as soon as it had started for him.

But after 5 minutes he got up, having pushed the finger back in its socket, and proceeded to take the free throws. He missed the first; hit the second, then went down court and had two MASSIVE blocks — the second leading to a fast break where Kevin Knox hit the 3rd of his 3 ‘nothing-but-net’ 3’s.

What a game! What an ending!


Everybody played well. Everybody.

  • Payton had a double-double at one point but then they took an assist away; he finished with 11 points on 4-12 shooting with 6 rebounds, 9 assists, and a +22.
  • Barrett was an efficient 5-7 shooting (1-1 from 3, 3-4 in free throws) for 14 pts and a +23.
  • Bullock had 22 points on 8-12 shooting (6-10 from 3).
  • Randle finished with 29 points on 9-16 (5-6 from 3, 6-7 in free throws), 8 rebounds, 3 assists. The whole starting 5 had +/-‘s in the +20+.
  • Imanuel Quickley played great — 12 points on 3-6 shooting.
  • Derrick Rose had 7 pts in 21 minutes and a +14.
  • Alec Burks was the lone Knick regular not to score (0-2 shooting in 15 minutes) but had a +14.
  • The backend of the Knicks roster got into the game in the closing minutes: Jared Harper, and Theo Pinson.

The Boxscore

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