The New York Knicks fell to the Detroit Pistons at home despite 32 points from Beasley, 115–109.

Without the imposing frame of Enes Kanter at the rim compounded the absence of Frank Ntilikina’s pesky length on the perimeter, the New York Knicks (27–50) had to rely on great ball movement in order to compete with a Detroit Pistons’ team that just went H.A.M. defensively versus the Wizards.

In this early evening matchup, the spry, young spark plug Troy Williams got the start in hopes of somehow stifling the Pistons’ frontcourt of Anthony Tolliver and Andre Drummond. While Williams has been quite a surprise in the last few games—earning a contract for the next season in the process—he started the game looking slightly lost and making late defensive rotations. Williams missed a few assignments, which led to Tolliver hitting a pair of threes (KOQ gave up a pull-up jumper to Tolliver as well). Although Troy hit a few treys of his own in the first half, Coach Hornacek went to his bench early (Dotson minutes!), giving the Knicks a chance to stay on the Pistons’ heels and keep up with the pace.

While the Knicks were looking great from long-distance in the first half, the combination of penetrating and Trey Burke’s ambitious passing is what helped them to get within two points after two quarters. At the half, Burke accounted for half of the Knicks’ 14 dimes, including these two:

In the third quarter torture chamber, the Knicks stayed close to the Detroit Pistons (36–40) by continuously moving the ball well and always looking for the open man. With more than capable passers like Burke and KOQ on the floor, this is a trend that started earlier in the season and then disappeared. Although, against teams that have some length such as the Pistons, you can see how ball movement is crucial in maintaining confidence in transition and inside the paint—especially when you’re missing key big men.

What worked well
  • You can’t say enough great things about Trey Burke in a losing season. He does all of the little things well, and when he has the hot hand, nobody can stop him. The upside I see in him is that when Burke is late to warm up, he does everything else to help his team. He had 15 assists, the highest since (deep breaths) Ray Felton in 2011. He had active hands on defense versus Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith, Detroit’s point guard corps. Burke played with effort and Knicks fans everywhere rejoice in Burke’s consistency as of late.

  • Michael Beasley woke up the Garden! He caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points and getting the crowd involved. Beas finished with a team-high 32 points and shot 75 percent from long-distance.
  • The Knicks had one of those games where they looked good from beyond the arc. They shot for almost 46 percent. The bad side is they also gave up 42 percent. Yikes!
What didn’t work well
  • Burke’s greatest shortcoming is his height. That’s a flaw that could have been easily masked on defense by the presence of Frank. So defense was sorely missed in a backcourt matchup that doesn’t really feature stellar shooters from outside.
  • Even though, the Knicks didn’t get blown out in “points in the paint,” they were only able to compete inside due to the great passing and off-ball plays. I like Troy Williams, but this was an opportunity in his first start for the Knicks where it would have been nice to see him make those shots at the rim in addition to his three-point attempts.
  • Per usual, the Knicks got smoked in fast break points. In an offense that features little-to-no rim protection right now and young players who can run, it’s disappointing to see the squad not capitalize on Blake Griffin being out and the ghost of Anthony Tolliver playing starter minutes.

To be fair, not much defense was played by either team. But the Knicks had 14 turnovers, ultimately laying wake to a typical “we almost had the W” close. Ah well, at least we’re one game closer to the painful end.

The ‘Bockers get another two-days rest before the Orlando Magic come to town to complete the two teams’ four-game season series.