6 thoughts on the Knicks streamrolling the Pistons – The Denver Post


The Knicks administered a shellacking in the home opener Friday night, a 130-106 victory over the Pistons that demonstrated the capabilities of a bench group that might finish among the best reserves in the NBA.

The Pistons are bad and indifferent to defense, which certainly helped open the floodgates. But that’s often the key to making the playoffs: take care of the games you’re supposed to.

The Knicks did that emphatically against Detroit. Here are six thoughts on the contest:


They were pretty bad in the final two preseason games and the regular season opener in Memphis, but the reserves flipped the script Friday night. Obi Toppin was flying. Immanuel Quickley was hunting. Derrick Rose was leading. Isaiah Hartenstein was rebounding. They had an easy matchup against Detroit’s defensive-averse bench, specifically Kevin Knox, Cory Joseph and Killian Hayes. They took full advantage. Quickley’s play, per usual, is dictated by his streaky shot. It went in 8 of 14 times for 20 points on Friday night.

“I love when he shoots,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I feel every time he shoots, particularly his 3s, I think they’re all going in.”


Thibodeau claims Rose isn’t on a restriction or plan for limiting playing time but evidence from the first two games suggests the Knicks will keep his minutes low. Rose might’ve been the team’s most effective player Friday night and he only logged 16 minutes, two nights after he played just 12 minutes in Memphis. Rose didn’t agree that fewer minutes are advantageous toward his health at 34 years old, but he’s also not causing a fuss over playing time.

“It’s whatever. My job is to push the pace,” Rose said. “If not, take me out and put somebody in that can fulfill the job. I’m not worried about minutes, never worried about minutes.”


We saw it plenty last season. Obi Toppin is the fan favorite, the homegrown draft pick and human highlight. They chant his name even when Toppin’s on the bench. Julius Randle, on the other hand, elicits groans when he holds the ball or settles for a contested shot. Sometimes, the groans turn into boos. We felt that arrangement bubbling again Friday night. Toppin got one of the loudest ovations during the pregame introductions. Randle was announced last to subdued cheers and a smattering of boos. At the start of the third quarter, with the Knicks in full control and Randle playing well, the crowd began chanting, “We want Obi.”

Listen, we understand. Fans pay a lot of money and want to witness highlight dunks. But it can’t be lost on the crowd, or on any of the players involved, that inserting Toppin means benching Randle. It’s not productive to mending the frayed relationship between Randle and the fans. Randle is doing everything asked of him at this point. He’s moving the ball, moving without the ball, and playing within the system. He deserves a little rope here.


There were at least two gameday changes from MSG. The Knicks City Dancers were rebranded as K.C.D. and cut from 20-something dancers to only eight. The performances resembled music videos with a higher level of production and sleek outfits. They’ve moved further away from being cheerleaders. The other update was a karaoke video on the Jumbotron, which encouraged fans to sing along to “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. It worked well Friday night, as it did in preseason with Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.” Felt like we were in a concert. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for ‘80s anthems.


Brunson has exemplified Thibodeau’s credo of ‘You can play well without shooting well.’ Not that he’s shooting poorly (44.8% in the two games), but Brunson’s impact has been felt well beyond his points. He’s Mr. Intangible. Here are just three examples:

1) The charge taken on Ja Morant in the opener to force regulation.

2) The dive into the crowd for the loose ball in the first quarter Friday night.

3) Zero turnovers in 64 minutes.

The Knicks were at the bottom in assists last season at 21.9 per game. They’re averaging 28.5 in two games this season. Very small sample but Brunson has been a big part of the increase in ball movement and pace.


Grimes went through Friday morning’s shootaround and was moving well in pregame warmups, but there’s no date on his return. The Knicks are waiting for Grimes to go through a contact practice and see how he responds. Theoretically, that can happen Sunday and Grimes might be available for Monday’s home game against the Magic.

“I think he’s getting closer,” Thibodeau said.

Perhaps there’s less urgency for Grimes’ return with Cam Reddish playing well in his spot. Reddish was great in Memphis with 22 points and was part of the strong bench against the Pistons.

“It’s all based on performance,” Thibodeau said. “A guy goes in there, you play well, you play more minutes. It’s really not that complicated. So, do it consistently, whoever gets the opportunity, if you want more minutes, play well when you’re in there. If the team plays well, you’re going to be in there.”



Source link