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Knicks 114, Pistons 104: Scenes from Julius Randle putting on an All-Star show before the All-Star Game

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He’s good!

NBA: Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons tried their damnedest to defeat the New York Knicks on Thursday night, but in the end the Pistons aren’t a very good team and the Knicks have Julius Randle. That was the difference in a 114-104 Knicks victory that was a little too close for comfort late.

How good has Randle been this season? This good:

Randle notched a clinical 27 points on 11-19 shooting, 16 rebounds and 7 assists. He looked like was barely breaking a sweat out there as he out-hustled and out-muscled Detroit, particularly on the break.

Still, the Pistons refused to go away. They chipped a 19-point deficit down to 10 and looked to get within single digits when they found big man Mason Plumlee on the break. Julius was not having it.

RJ Barrett excelled as Randle’s right-hand man (who just happens to be a lefty). The 20-year-old chipped in a cool 21 points on 9-13 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He continued to be money from the corners.

Elfrid Payton (20 points) had a very strong game coming back from injury and Nerlens Noel (12 points, 11 rebounds) continued his strong play of late.

The bench struggled, but Frank Ntilikina had a fun first half, hitting three triples in quick succession.

Well, that’s it for the first half of the 2020-21 season. The Knicks are 19-18, which staggers the mind. Recap to come.