When in doubt, blame Beno Udrih. As LazaroSmithington noted in our game thread, Beno’s hair was indeed so repulsive that the Knicks were incapable of tamping down a win in Detroit. Ideally this a team New York wants to be squarely in front of, especially with Reggie Jackson on the sideline. The Pistons aren’t especially wonderful but they have clearly had enough continuity over time to make a healthy teamwork stew. That was enough to overpower a rickety Knicks team still unsure of how they want to get the job done.
- Mike Walczewski needs a delay pedal. The Detroit PA guy is kind of annoying to me, but there’s no denying he does his thing. The MSG PA would bust just that extra bit of behind if they slapped some shimmer on the back of that “Carmelooooo (meloooo, meloooo) Anthonyyyy (thonyyyy, thonyyyy)”. They probably already play Chubb Rock before games, but some more Chubb Rock would be helpful too.
- Beno’s hair really is impossibly revolting. It’s like he didn’t realize the Pistons discarded those ridiculous teal jerseys when they acquired him. So he wanted to match the blazing horse. It looked like he scalped a head=shrunken Walter Herrmann and stapled it to his doofy skull. Kick it to the curb, Beno.
- It wasn’t all bad. The Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee pick and roll defense is real and it’s (reasonably) spectacular. The Pistons went after it a little in the early going to limited success. Then they steered clear. A lot of the other pick and roll combos, especially those involving Brandon Jennings, implode quickly and seemed more enticing for Detroit. Often times you’ll see two Knicks run into one another during the coverage and push off as they communicate opposite coverages. Whew boy, got a ways to go.
- Every Knicks starter had taken a shot within four minutes of the opening tip. That’s pretty good. Everyone is getting touches and slowly finding their rhythm. I won’t put much stock into the fact that two of those first few shots were airballs. One from Joakim (open for a reason) and one for Kristaps Porzingis.
- Noah must have heard about Beno’s atrocious hair offering. He tried to undo the wretchedness by getting his frizzy mop braided in two with a headband. It looks better that way, Jo. Keep it up. It also looked like he had a jock strap wrapped around his head with the cup over his ear (Marc Gasol elbowed and bloodied him the previous game).
- Speaking of elbowed and bloodied, Stanley Johnson’s formidable pointy elbow bopped Justin Holiday real good. Five stitches for the fire extinguisher. He did come back, but the Knicks missed him while he was getting cleaned up.
- Elbows were everywhere, as Carmelo Anthony dropped the agitating Marcus Morris with a sharp left thrust right into the belt line. Morris went down and Melo got a layup. Melo couldn’t figure him out. If you can’t beat ‘em, groin ‘em.
- Derrick Rose is known for raising his game against opponents he deems worthy. So when he found himself getting worked by Ish Smith in the first quarter, he decided to make an appearance. This guy is so classically “Knicks” it’s starting to hurt. He can still get to the cup, though, boy. That’s for definitely sure. Shook a whole lot of salt on the Pistons one-on-one defense.
- Brandon Jennings’ pull up jumper in transition looks more fluid than his catch and shoot jumper. Just a lot less working parts. He’s a strange one.
- You can see the thought bubbles bursting over the top of Lance Thomas’ head when he catches the ball. Just let it loose, Lance! It’s not for a lack of opportunity. On a night when Porzingis just didn’t have the goods, Lance got extended run into the fourth and just fell deeper into the abyss. I’m depressed.
- Porzingis struggled most of the night. He nuked some hot pockets late in the third, but didn’t get back into the game until it was too far gone. If he were still a rookie I’d agree with the move. Kristaps is not your typical youngster however, those minutes legitimately belong to the young Latvian lion. Let him shoot the team out of a game instead of... really anyone else. Let this man romp!
- The Knicks spent the final five and a half minutes without a field goal and only lost by 13.
So that’s the shape of things. The Knicks probably didn’t figure out how to snap together long stretches of competence on the team plane back home. They might have been able to game plan stemming the tide, though. Tonight they face the high-powered offense of the Houston Rockets. Four shooters on the floor again but with more range and dexterity this time. Sadly, no Beno.