Knicks Fire on All Cylinders, Crush Pistons. NY 130 Detroit 106

Obi Toppin with a reverse slam in the 4th off a feed from Immanuel Quickley, electrifying Madison Square Garden with icing on top of the easy win.

The Knicks fired on all cylinders from the get go to crush the Pistons 130-106 in their home opener at Madison Square Garden on a Friday night.

NY surged at the end of the 1st quarter to take a 30-20 lead, upped the lead to over 20 points in the 2nd quarter, ran the lead to 29 points early in the 3rd, withstood a Detroit run that cut the lead to 12 points, but quickly ran the lead back to 22 by end of the 3rd, and coasted through the 4th quarter.

“Our bench played a really good game for us,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “That’s critical for us. They played well together; they played well as a group.”

NY goes to 1-1 on the season.

Key Takeaways:

1. Barrett & Quickley Redemption

RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley had bounce back games from their horrid 1st games of the season.

RJ Barrett was coming off a 3-18 shooting performance and set the tone early — driving to the basket and dishing for assists — 3 of them early in the 1st quarter. Then he started scoring, efficiently, on drives.

“I thought the way we started the game — I thought RJ’s playmaking was huge for us,” said Thibodeau. “That set the tone.”

Barrett was an efficient 8-15 from the floor (0-3 from 3, 2-2 in free throws) for 18 points (+12).

Immanuel Quickley also scored with efficiency all evening — hitting his jumper and his 3’s. With Derrick Rose playing the point on the 2nd team, Quickley plays combo guard — point at times/shooter at times – and always looking to hook up Obi Toppin for a play.

Quickley was 8-14 (3-8 from 3, 1-1 in free throws) for 20 points and a +27. Quickley is an outstanding rebounding guard for his size, and grabbed 7 on this evening.

2. Brunson & Rose Give Knicks Great Point Guard Play

The Knicks were without a true point guard for most of last season and it was a main reason for their fall-back year. Rose played the first 20 games before going out for the year with ankle surgery, and didn’t play well those first 20 games as his ankle was clearly barking.

This year is a different story — NY went out and got an elite point guard on the free agent market in Jalen Brunson, and Rose is back healthy as the point guard for the 2nd team. On top of that Quickley learned on the job how to play the point last season — although he’s still a natural scoring guard.

The Knicks now have elite point guard play for 48 minutes, making the team strong and cohesive throughout the game.


3. Randle Playing Well

The better Knick point guard play opens up the game of others like Julius Randle, who doesn’t have to play point forward anymore. Randle played another great game — scoring efficiently inside in his variety of ways — 5-12 shooting for 15 points and 6 rebounds in only 25 minutes in the blowout. “Julius got us playing fast; he got up the floor got us some easy buckets,” said Thibodeau.

4. Crowd Chants for Obi, Crowd Gets Obi

Even with Randle playing well, the Madison Square Garden crowd started chanting for Obi in the 2nd half. The Knicks gave the fans what they wanted.

Quickley started hooking Obi up with alley oops and Obi electrified the blowout with slam dunks and spectacular drives.

“Obi’s like a greyhound. Always running; never seems winded,” said Walt Frazier on the broadcast as Obi flew through the air for a Dr. J-esq layup.

5. Robinson Dominates Offensive Boards

Mitchell Robinson only played 23 minutes in the blowout, but when he was in dominated the offensive glass as usual. He had 5 rebounds — 4 on the offensive boards — and was 3-3 from the floor for 8 points, 2 blocks, and a +5.

6. Hartenstein Key to 2nd Team

Isaiah Hartenstein was again a key ingredient of the 2nd team — a passing, shooting center who rebounds and can block a shot. He had 11 rebounds and 6 points with a block.

The Knicks 2nd team of Rose, Quickley, Obi, Hartenstein and Cam Reddish played with tremendous Energy.

7. The NY-Detroit Connection

As Peter Vecsey has pointed out on Twitter, Detroit is still recovering from a horrid stretch by Stan Van Gundy as GM/coach that ended when he was fired in 2018. Detroit is in rebuild mode with a bunch of young players — most notably Cade Cunningham, the 6’6 point guard who was the #1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, and Jaden Ivey, the 6’4 point guard whom they drafted with the #5 pick in last June’s draft.

Rumors Had Knicks Wanting Ivey

Rumors circulated before the draft that the Knicks were looking to trade up with Detroit for that #5 pick to draft Ivey — but that trade never happened. Considering concurrent rumors also had the Knicks a lock to sign Brunson, which they did, you have to wonder if the rumors for Ivey ever had any merit — or were confused with other trades the Knicks were looking to do with Detroit — which did happen (see below).

Ivey had a nice game — 17 points on 6-12 shooting and 9 assists. He showed his quickness. Cunningham had 15 points and 7 assists. Looked a little less quick than Ivey.

Detroit Picked Hayes in 2020 Allowed Obi to NY

Ivey has forced Killian Hayes — the 6’4 point guard Detroit picked with the #7 pick in the 2020 draft — to the bench. Detroit picking Hayes in that draft left Obi Toppin available to the Knicks, whom they picked with the #8 pick. Rumors before the draft had NY hoping Obi would fall to them.

Saddiq Bey is Detroit’s leading scorer — he was the 19th pick by Brooklyn in 2020, traded to Detroit in a multi-team trade with the Clippers that netted the Nets Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet.

Bey had 26 points on 9-15 shooting in this game. The 6’8 scoring forward averaged 16.1 ppg last year and is now at 17.0 ppg this year.

Knox 1st Man Off Detroit Bench

Former Knick Kevin Knox — signed by Detroit as a free agent in the off season — was first man off the Piston bench but had a poor game: 2 points on 1-6 shooting (0-3 from 3) in 11 minutes for a -22.

Duran Whom Knicks Picked & Traded, Looked Good

The Knicks did work 2 trades with Detroit — one on draft night and one a week later. On draft night (July 6) they sent their #13 pick (Jalen Duren) to Detroit with Kemba Walker for a 1st round pick in 2025.

The 6’10 Duren was 2nd man off the bench — he had 8 points on 4-8 shooting in 23 minutes with 10 rebounds.

Noel and Burks

In the 2nd trade a week after the draft on July 11th, NY sent Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks to Detroit for Nikola Radičević with a bunch of 2nd round picks exchanged. Both Burks and Noel are out with injuries.

The Boxscore


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