After a solid debut before Friday’s season, Knicks played well in just a quarter of Sunday’s rematch, giving Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena Pistons a 99-91 decision.
Rookie lottery pick Obadiah Toppin crashed into Earth with a porous performance in his second match, and Knicks’ defense wasn’t as perfect as Tom Thibodeau’s debut.
Tibodo kept the same starting lineup and the unit floated them after a bad start. But Knicks’ bench was horrifying, and the club scored 16 points in the final frame on a terrible aggressive outing.
Toppin went off the pine and scored only 4 points with a 1 to 9 shot. This includes 1s from 3 to 6.
Alec Burks (15 points) started in a small forward for two consecutive games, leading the third-quarter rally, which Knicks led before folding in the fourth-quarter.
RJ Barrett had a strong night (25 points, 10 of 17 from the field), but after Julius Randle stole, he blew a transition layup with 4:30 remaining.
Knicks showed many good signs by keeping Detroit at 80 points on Friday, but retreated. It was a disastrous night for Kevin Knox (1 to 6, 2 airballs) in the 2018 draw, with backup point guard Dennis Smith Jr. barely showing. Backup center Mitchell Robinson picked up five fouls in the first 11 minutes.
After a 10-half-time difference, Knicks played harder to start the second half, increasing his defense and shooting outside. Barrett scored 11 points in the third quarter, and free agent signer Burkes started two games in a row, adding nine points to score three points.
Knicks rallyed to take a three-point lead and were drawn three-quarters later at 75, but the young bench couldn’t keep up the momentum.
Knicks’ defense was much weaker on Sunday than on Friday’s big win. On Sunday, Pistons got a lot of easy baskets and scored 31 points in the first quarter. The second property, Blake Griffin, drilled a wide open three-pointer, and Derrick Rose and Delon Wright dribbled for a simple lay-in.
The Tibodo group wasn’t sharp from Friday’s three-point line, but their incompetence expanded on Sunday when Detroit went to the zone. They were 1 of 6 from the 3-point line in the first quarter, lagging behind 31-20.
Upon getting off the bench, Knox stunnedly turned away from the quilter, firing two airballs from his surroundings and advancing 0-3 during the break. When Knicks closed within 52-42, Randall drilled three pointers with one second left.
Knicks Obadiah Toppin retreats due to pre-season defeat to Pistons
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