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Game Preview: Knicks @ Pistons, 4/3/2021

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Streaky losing.

New York Knicks’ Charles Oakley (R) tries to steal Photo credit should read HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP via Getty Images

Well, my knickers feel bonkers. New York is stumbling into Detroit on their second longest losing streak of the season. Julius Randle is pickling himself in a barrel of bad shots and cheddar sharp decision making. If Randle doesn’t have it, I assure you it only gets worse for the Knicks if you look ahead on the schedule. For their sake let’s hope Detroit is trying too hard to reintroduce their rookie point man, Killian Hayes, and as a result the Knicks are able to eat when the Pistons ain’t looking.

New York Knicks v Detroit Pistons Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Projected Starters

No Jahlil Okafor or Rodney McGruder for Detroit but Killian Hayes is back after a long hiatus. He had whatever a subluxation of the hip is. I guess his sub luxurious hip is healed now but the Pistons have had another rookie really gain some traction lately and that is Vanderbilt’s Saben Lee. A tricky driver who has some finishing chops around the rim, Lee has stuck it to a couple teams recently. It will be interesting to see if he smells blood in the water with this gimpy Knicks squad coming in and Hayes putting a little heat under his chair. For more on Lee check out this good stuff from enbiejowiec at Detroit Bad Boys.

Elfrid Payton v Saben Lee

Reggie Bullock v Josh Jackson

RJ Barrett v Saddiq Bey

Julius Randle v Jerami Grant

Nerlens Noel v Mason Plumlee

New York welcomed Derrick Rose back last night but he just couldn’t get it going. That goes for everybody really. Maybe against his old team he’ll find that spark because the Knicks are playing like total nudniks right now. The only Knicks that played with any panache yesterday were Obi Toppin, Taj Gibson and Alec Burks. Not exactly the most feared triumvirate for opposing teams.

New York Knicks’ Allan Houston (C) knocks down the Photo credit should read MATT CAMPBELL/AFP via Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

As you fully understand, the Knicks are going nowhere if Julius Randle plays like the steaming hot pile of crap we saw last night (and all of last season). I don’t know if he has to get his braids back or what, but some changes are required before resubmitting that nonsensical effort. I don’t know what changed but Julius’ head is just not quite in it at the moment. He’s relying too heavily on self-creation and as a result the whole team is following suit. The ball movement of late has dried almost completely up.

Even the attention to detail on the defensive end was sub-standard for New York yesterday. Sure the Mavericks are a fantastic offensive bunch when they have it rolling but they didn’t have it rolling! As the game came down the stretch Dallas just started some actions and the Knicks didn’t know whether to stay home or switch anymore and Luka Dončić and the Dončaires just danced to the goal.

Game is at 8:00, Knicks by -11.

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy looks de Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Parting Shot

I’m not suffering under the illusion that the Knicks are a championship contender this year but I do believe they have a shot to make the playoffs and give some team hell. Just beating them down and maybe not squeezing the life out of them but it will be enough to completely wear that group down in the next round.

Personally I’d like them making it directly to the playoffs and not wading through a chest deep playin. As such it’s time to shave some heads and wear all black sneakers. Or at least get all terminator-zen or whatever.

Detroit Pistons v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images