The New York Knicks paid a visit to the Detroit Pistons three weeks after acquiring Derrick Rose from them.
This game was not one with any ill will. Rose and the Pistons mutually agreed to part ways. The Knicks just happened to be the team with the best trade offer.
Except since reuniting with Rose, the Knicks have gone 6-3. Entering Sunday’s game, they were tied with the Toronto Raptors for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference.
All this to say the team has looked motivated as of late, and playing the East-worst Pistons provided for ideal circumstances.
Turn up Eminem and The Four Tops in one room. In another, blast Jay-Z and Frank Sinatra (By association only. Know your place, New Jersey).
And now, let’s revisit how the latest hoops clash between the Big Apple and the Motor City panned out.
1st quarter: Ugly, ugly, ugly
The New York Knicks led 25-20 after one, but didn’t look great getting there. Though the team sunk five threes on eight attempts from long range, New York shot just 32% from the field.
The good news for the Knicks is the Pistons weren’t much better. Detroit made just 33.3% of its shot attempts despite out-rebounding New York 18-13.
But thanks to a pair of clutch threes from RJ Barrett, momentum favored the Knicks. Now, they just needed to score more consistently.
Halftime report: Plain sloppy basketball
It doesn’t matter that the New York Knicks led 48-37 at halftime. The second quarter featured even more ugly basketball as both teams struggled on both ends.
The Pistons had early hope after coming within three of the Knicks halfway through the second, but it was short-lived. New York’s starters soon rejoined the game as Barrett and Rose gave the Knicks a short boost. Julius Randle also hit a pair of key shots.
But then turnovers took over on New York’s end, and the team’s run looked less Days of Thunder and more Driven. Between 1990s Tom Cruise and 2001 Sylvester Stallone, it’s pretty easy to determine which one we’d rather have.
3rd quarter: Turbocharged Offense
Julius Randle and RJ Barrett should start being called Hobbs & Shaw as they helped the Knicks be both fast and furious in the third.
Randle scored 12 points in the quarter and Barrett added seven as New York outscored the Pistons 35-27. It was practically having a Lamborghini race a Cadillac on the FDR Drive, and we all know who wins that race.
The Knicks led 83-64 after three, and a third straight win was officially within sight.
4th quarter: Detroit York City
Fine, fine. No more record collection jokes. But even so, the New York Knicks took over Detroit tonight. No disrespect to Kiss, but the song needs a new name after the Knicks’ 109-90 victory.
In a nutshell, the Knicks kept their collective foot on the gas pedal and kept up the great basketball in the fourth. No one player really took over at the end, but Derrick Rose got to enjoy his Motor City homecoming with 14 points and five assists.
Throw in five total Knicks scoring in double figures and the team shooting 51% from the field, and it was a great night indeed.
Player of the Game: Julius Randle
Randle continued his All-Star and MVP-caliber season with 25 points on 18 shots, plus eight rebounds and six assists.