alec burks
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Alec Burks put the New York Knicks on his back in a comeback win against the Detroit Pistons.

At one point, the New York Knicks were down by 14 points in the third quarter to the lowly Detroit Pistons. Even with key players in the health and safety protocols and only five wins on the year, Detroit’s aggressive defense froze the Knicks.

Then, Alec Burks entered the game.

He and the Knicks bench did the rest, chipping in 65 total points in New York’s 94-85 win in the Motor City.  Burks scored 34 points in 27 minutes on 17 shots, and drilled five threes. He was also a force on defense, chipping in three steals.

Burks’ great night proved a much-needed boost for the Knicks, who struggled against Detroit for three quarters before taking over in the fourth. New York was outscored 30-16 in the third quarter and also committed 16 turnovers. The starting five struggled again and couldn’t get into a flow, with Julius Randle scoring just five points on 2 of 11 shooting.

The starting five’s flaws were exposed in the third, when the Pistons came out playing aggressive defense with energy usually found in a V-8 engine. The Knicks started pressing their shot and simply didn’t know what to do in the face of such a strong effort. Remember, the Knicks led 48-41 at halftime and suddenly found themselves down 66-52 with just over three minutes left in the quarter.

Thankfully, Alec Burks and the bench came to the rescue. Immanuel Quickley added 18 points and Taj Gibson was a defensive force with eight rebounds and four blocks. Rookie Miles McBride continued to impress on defense.

All in all, it was another ugly win for the Knicks, and the defense once again held the line.

Looking ahead

New York continues the road trip on Friday when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.