Knicks Take Care of Business in Detroit. NY 117 Pistons 104

Tom Thibodeau & Immanuel Quickley protest a call by refs -- Quick had just hustled after loose ball that he felt went off Detroit -- and ran over to Thibs in disbelief as refs called it other way. The two argued the refs together.

The Knicks jumped out to a 20-point lead early in the 2nd quarter — then withstood a steady Detroit comeback attempt, but finally put the game away in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter for the win. On a Sunday afternoon in Detroit.

Julius Randle led the Knicks with a Dominant performance of 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 assists.

“It wasn’t just his scoring — it was all around — everything,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards about Randle. “I loved how he set the tone for us. I knew how well they had been playing, and sometimes that’s hard to get across. But I thought Julius helped set the tone for being ready. Getting that lead early; we needed all of it.”

“And then whenever we needed a big bucket, he stepped up; delivered.” continued Thibs. “His defense. The rebounding was just huge. He got every big rebound down the stretch. He had some tough covers; he was all over the place — he was on the perimeter guarding guards, and everything else. I thought he was terrific.”

Detroit came in with one of the worst records in the NBA at 12-34, and were without Cade Cunningham. But they have shooters — and Jaden Ivey (#4 pick in last June’s draft), Saddiq Bey, and old friends Kevin Knox (16 pts) and Alec Burks (14 pts) kept hitting 3’s to keep Detroit in it.

In fact Detroit pulled to within 7 points with 5 minutes left before a Julius Randle 3 from the right side started the Knicks on their final close-out run. Jalen Brunson hit another big bucket soon afterwards, and steered the team throughout, adding 27 points.

It was a fun afternoon throughout the day for NY fans, as the NY Giants beat the Minnesota Vikings in their wild card playoff game later in the afternoon.

1. Randle = All Star

Julius Randle powered the Knicks early, and he powered the Knicks late. He hit his 3 with ease and confidence, powered to the basket at will for drives, defended and RIPPED DOWN rebounds.

He ripped down every important rebound there was to be had. And when Detroit pulled to within 7 with 5 minutes left — there was Julius again — sauntering down the right side and popping an easy 3 hitting nothing but net for a 10-point Knick lead.

Then next time down, after Detroit scored to pull back to within 9 — Randle with a drive into the lane and floater to put NY up by 11 again.

2. Detroit Would Not Go Away

Detroit looked Horrible to start the afternoon, but then buckled down their defense in the 2nd quarter and played well the rest of the night. Detroit is coached by Dwayne Casey — and as expected their defense was not bad.

  • Detroit sliced the 20-point deficit to pull to within 7 at the half.
  • NY kept trying to pull away but Detroit would come right back — to within 6 points in the 3rd,
  • and then — after NY upped the lead to 10 after 3 quarters, and up to 16 points early in the 4th — Detroit came right back to pull to within 7 with 5 minutes left.

Jaden Ivey looked every bit like the #4 pick in last June’s draft. He can flat out score — tossing up easy 3’s that hit, and with quickness that allows him to dance into the lane. Ivey had 21 points and would have had more had Quentin Grimes not defended him brilliantly all evening.

Saddiq Bey was 5-10 from 3 for 21 points as well. Alec Burks was 4-6 from 3 for 14 points.

3. Knox Looked Great

Kevin Knox was first man off bench for Detroit and played 19 minutes — scoring 16 pts on 5-6 shooting (3-4 from 3). He has that pretty, high-arcing, and accurate 3, looked good on drives to the hoop, and played good D. He looked Taller than he has in past — and in fact looked a little like… Kevin Durant?

4. Brunson the Glue on Offense AND Defense

Jalen Brunson was the glue all evening for the Knicks — on Defense as well as Offense. He took 3 charges for offensive fouls on Detroit, which played big in NY runs. He is now tied for 1st in the NBA in charges drawn. Brunson had 27 points on 9-17 shooting (2-4 from 3, 7-8 in free throws), 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a +20.

His confidence with the ball in the closing minutes gives the Knicks confidence and allows Julius Randle to play with less coverage, increasing his confidence.

5. Quick Was Quick

Immanuel Quickley (17 points on 6-13 shooting) had another strong showing on offense and defense and ball handling — and he played down the stretch with Quentin Grimes (11 pts on 2-9 shooting) and Jalen Brunson — over RJ Barrett, for the second straight game.

“Quick was quick,” said coach Thibs afterwards. “He’s just indispensable.”

Barrett had a nice game — 13 points on 4-10 shooting in 27 minutes. “Just the way the game was going,” said Thibs afterwards. “RJ is going to finish 99 percent of the time. But the way the matchups were, I liked the way that group was functioning. And he’s still getting his rhythm back, so we have to let him work through that. But 99 percent of the time we’re finishing with RJ.”

6. Robinson 12 Rebounds

Mitchell Robinson the unsung hero had 4 points but 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, and a +14 — and was a big part of the Knicks defense all evening.

“Your defense carries you,” said Thibs afterwards. “Your defense, your rebounding, and taking care of the ball.”

7. Hartenstein Played Well

Isaiah Hartenstein played well for the 2nd game in a row — hustling for loose balls, rebounding, scoring inside, and making heads’ up plays.

Obi Topping played 9 minutes and got 6 rebounds, although he was 0-5 from the floor (0-2 from 3).

The Boxscore

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