Tonight, the New York Knicks (5-6) return to Madison Square Garden to host the Detroit Pistons (3-9) for Friday night basketball. Considering how the Brooklyn Nets shellacked them on Wednesday, the ’Bockers must be relieved to find the Pistons next on the slate.
So far this season, the Knicks have an offensive rating of 109.5 (23rd in the NBA), a defensive rating of 111.9 (18th), and a net rating of -2.4 (22nd). Jalen Brunson has them running faster this season, raising their pace up to 11th in the league.
Comparatively, the Pistons have the league’s 27th offense, the 30th defense, and the 30th net rating. The team has talent, albeit young and rough and unable to shoot from distance. The two teams met in game two of the season, which resulted in a 130-106 Knicks win. Let’s do it again!
Tip-off’s at 7:30 p.m., basketball fans.
Cade Cunningham (6’6”, 220 lb.) has averaged 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and six assists in 33.3 minutes per game. In his sophomore season, he’s shooting 42% from the floor, and 28% from deep. The greatest amount of his shots have come from 3-10’ from the rim (converting 42%) and beyond the arc (converting 27%). Last year’s All-Rookie is fifth on this year’s turnover list with 39 so far. File under: Work in Progress.
Jalen Brunson had no trouble against Cade in their last meeting, grabbing 17 points and six assists on 6-for-11 from the field. More of that tonight, please.
The Cam Reddish coaster rolls on. Keep all hands and legs inside the passing lanes. Sometimes Cam looks great, and sometimes he plays a game like Wednesday’s contest against the Nits, when he logged zero points on 0-for-7 shooting and had a -17. You’d expect him to play well against Detroit—who doesn’t, amiright?—but he went 3-for-8 and scored only six points in 18 minutes when they last met. If Quentin Grimes is unavailable tonight (persistent foot ailment), the Knicks will need a stronger showing from the Norristown kid. Or maybe not because, you know, it’s Detroit.
Jaden Ivey (6’4”, 195 lb.) has averaged 15.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. The 20-year-old is a demon when there’s room to drive the lane, with a third of his shots coming at the iron. His outside shot was one area of concern heading into the draft and remains so with an average of 32% on 4.5 attempts. The Knicks limited him to 17 points in their last meeting. His career high so far is 19, but he’ll surely top that this season. Did I just jinx it? Watch and find out.
RJ Barrett is taking time to get going this season. It’s an annual issue and not a favorite new tradition in our household. Thus far, RJ has averaged 19.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in just under 35 minutes per game, and that includes some extra garbage time padding. The Maple-scented Mamba went 18, three, and four when he last faced Saddiq Bey (6’7”, 215 lb.). This season, Bey has averaged 17.1 points and 4.8 boards in 32.2 minutes per tilt. Detroit’s third-year man shoots from beyond the arc about half the time and converts only 32%. Perhaps you’ve noticed a theme of poor three-point shooting among Detroit’s starters.
Bojan Bogdanovic (6’7”, 226 lb.) has averaged 19.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in his first year as a Piston. He’s the best shooter of the bunch, making 45% from deep on 6.8 attempts per game, so, yeah, the 33-year-old still has tread on the tires after nine years in the league. Julius Randle dropped 15 points and added six rebounds in 25 minutes against the Pistons on October 21. His understudy, Obi Toppin played 21 minutes and grabbed 16 points, four boards, and three dimes.
Mitchell Robinson appears to be out again, still nursing that sprained knee. Jericho Sims was rusty in his start against the Nets but finished with seven points, six boards, and three blocks in 27 minutes. Thibs prefers to keep Isaiah Hartenstein with the second unit, so expect the Wall of Jericho to get the call again tonight. He’ll face Isaiah Stewart (6’8”, 250 lb.), who has averaged 12.5 points and 9.9 boards in his third year. His backup, rookie Jalen Duren, has averaged 7.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. Look for Stewart and Duren to split time in this one.
Thank God the Pistons can’t shoot. Tonight, at last, the Knicks are unlikely to be scorched from deep, which makes this a winnable game for our hometown heroes. New York dominated Detroit in the last one, and they should again tonight. Knicks by 15.
Madison Square Garden. Friday. 7:30 p.m. Gooo Knicks!