And on the 7th Day, the Knicks Played the Pistons. NY 140 Detroit 110

Julius Randle came out FIRING — and ON FIRE — on his birthday — hitting five 3’s in the first quarter — and finishing with 36 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in only 31 minutes to lead the Knicks to a romp over the Pistons in Detroit, 140-110.

Detroit made a comeback in the 2nd quarter to erase a 10-pt Knick lead and even briefly jump on top, but the Knicks immediately put their foot down and ran the Pistons out of the building — leading 70-56 at the half and by 30 or so points throughout the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Detroit — who has the worst record in the NBA at 5-18 — has been the Knicks salve this year.

As Danny B said on his Morning Drive after the Memphis game, “We got the Pistons tomorrow night. I feel every time we go into a bad stretch, there come the Detroit Pistons around the corner.”

Indeed — the Knicks have played Detroit 3 times previously this year:

“This game is just what the Knicks’ Doctor ordered,” said Mike Breen afterwards.


1. Randle Dominated

Coming in, Julius Randle was matched against a very tough and physical Isaiah Stewart. Before the game, Detroit coach Duane Casey said that Randle was one the most physical forwards in the NBA, and Stewart was right there with him.

Randle had just come off a game against Memphis where he facilitated — 14 pts, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists. In this one, he came out and felt his shot was falling, so took advantage of it. On his birthday — having just turned 28 years old.

“It’s always what the defense gives me,” said Randle afterwards. “Naturally I’m going to be aggressive. But I was just locked in, taking the shots that they gave me.”

“He’s an old school power forward who can stretch the floor,” said Detroit coach Duane Casey afterwards. “Usually he’s getting it going to the rim, going to the basket. When he’s shooting the ball the way he shot tonight, it’s tough. A lot of his shots were contested early, but when he saw those first couple go in, it was difficult. It was going to be a long night.”

2. Everybody Else Played Great

Everyone else on the Knicks played great too. The Knicks were able to rest their starters in the 4th quarter for the back-to-back game on Wednesday against Milwaukee at Madison Square Garden.

RJ Barrett had a strong game, with 16 points in on 4-11 shooting (2-6 from 3; 6-8 in free throws) for a +32 in 24 minutes.

Quentin Grimes shot lights out — 6 for 7 shooting (3 of 4 from 3) for 16 points and a +37 in 28 minutes.

Jalen Brunson shot lights out — 6 for 8 shooting (2 of 2 from 3) for 16 points in only 18 minutes.

Mitchell Robinson Beasted inside — 6 pts (on 3 of 6 shooting), 13 rebounds and a block in 26 minutes — a +31.

Isiah Hartenstein backed him up and looked good — 3 of 4 for 8 points and 5 rebounds in 14 minutes.

Obi Toppin shot 3 of 4 from the floor (2 of 3 from 3) for 8 pts in 18 minutes.

Immanuel Quickley had 17 points on 7-12 shooting; Derek Rose played well — 5 points and a +17 in 25 minutes.

You get the picture.

Jericho Sims, who has been playing great but did not get action in the game against Memphis, sat the entire game until getting called on for the final 6 minutes. He immediately dominated — receiving 3 straight passes inside for 3 straight DUNKS. It was “pass the ball to Jericho Sims” time.

The only Knick to not get in on the fun was Evan Fournier — who was glued to the bench. No doubt coach Tom Thibodeau is protecting his scoring average.

3. For Detroit

To make matters worse for Detroit, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey are out injured.

Killian Hayes started at shooting guard and had 11 points on 5-11 shooting in 26 minutes, but looked pedestrian; not that big and not that quick.

Kevin Knox got action, coming off two terrific games — and looked good — scoring 5 points in 17 minutes. He made a nice Euro-move into the lane and blocked a shot inside by Mitchell Robinson.

Jalen Duren — the #13 pick in the 2022 draft who was traded from Charlotte to NY to Detroit on draft night — played well; 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting.

“Tonite was a stinker,” said Detroit coach Duane Casey. “We’ve been playing excellent basketball until tonite.”

The Knicks play the Pistons one more time this season — on Sunday, January 15th in Detroit. The game before, NY plays the Washington Wizards.

The Knicks are on their own after that.

The Boxscore

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