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Knicks 94, Pistons 85: Scenes from a bench masterclass (and a fart-fest from the starters)

Taj and Burks saved the day.

New York Knicks v Detroit Pistons Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images

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.

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.

Burks had 19 of his 34 points in the fourth as the Knicks pulled out the W.

Weird game. Recap to come.