The New York Knicks toyed with the very bad, very undermanned Detroit Pistons Tuesday night, and it nearly cost them one of the most pathetic losses in franchise history. Fortunately, the bench is (mostly) back in order, and they turned a 14-point third-quarter deficit into a 94-85. The quintet of Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley, Miles McBride, Obi Toppin and Taj Gibson played the entire fourth quarter — that’s how poorly the starters performed. You know it had to hurt Tom Thibodeau, who looooves to play his starters.
The first half actually started out the same way, with the starting lineup struggling to find a groove and the bench lifting the Knicks to a comfortable lead before the starters came back in and messed up most of it.
Now, I’ve been a Knicks fan for almost 40 years now, so try to appreciate the fact that the third quarter of this game was the worst stretch of basketball I’ve ever seen this franchise play. The Pistons were missing pretty much their entire roster except for Saddiq Bey and Hamidou Diallo, and this was not a good team even when they were healthy. So naturally the Knicks let Bey (32 points) and Diallo (31 points) annihilate them.
Look at this shit.
I’ve watched a lot of bad quarters from a lot of bad Knicks teams in my life. A LOT.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 30, 2021
But considering the opponent and talent and experience discrepancy between the two teams - this is maybe the most embarrassing/inexcusable quarter I’ve ever seen from the Knicks. pic.twitter.com/NLJBVSsZrZ
The deficit was 14 when Thibs finally gave in and went to an all-bench unit. And, wouldn’t you know it, the bench retook the lead a few minutes later, at the start of the fourth quarter.
We pay attention to the kids, but let’s not forget the magnificent contributions of veterans Taj and AB.
This is not about talent or skill or speed… just effort. Not giving up. pic.twitter.com/wC1qqRUhmg— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 30, 2021
Burks had 19 of his 34 points in the fourth as the Knicks pulled out the W.
Taj makes a play. AB makes 'em pay. pic.twitter.com/NgSj9WadZM— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 30, 2021
Weird game. Recap to come.