The Knicks, buoyed by strong shooting nights from Julius Randle and Reggie Bullock, made mincemeat out of the Pistons, ending a once-troubling three-game losing streak.

The New York Knicks (25-25) return back to .500 after getting their 25th win in dominant fashion against the Detroit Pistons (14-35) on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Knicks defeated the Pistons 125-81 in a contest that was never close. After losing back-to-back games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks couldn’t afford to continue racking up losses as the first round in the playoffs is merely seven weeks away.

New York is currently sitting at seventh in the conference with 22 games remaining. With teams like the Charlotte Hornets missing key players in LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, and the Bostons Celtics and Chicago Bulls continuing to struggle, wins like tonight are huge for the Knicks who have not made the postseason since the 2012–13 campaign.

Julius Randle Takeover

The first half was dominated by first-time All-Star Julius Randle. He finished the half with 20 points, scoring all of which in the first quarter while shooting 4-for-5 from deep. Reggie Bullock had a hot shooting night as he and Randle had four threes apiece in the first quarter and combined for 32 points out of the team’s 41 total in the opening frame. The Knicks patent hard-nosed style defense was also on display as they held the Pistons to 15 total first-quarter points.

On the second night of a back-to-back, Randle could not be denied. Whether it was from three, overpowering his defender to the basket, or hitting his much-improved mid-range pull-up, the All-Star seemed determined to not extend the Knicks losing streak beyond two games. It was a much-needed bounce-back performance after shooting 5-of-20 from the field in the 99-86 loss to the Mavericks.

The Knicks shooting came back to earth in the second quarter after their hot start but still went into halftime with a 60-41 lead.

Second Half

Much like the first quarter, the third quarter was dominated by the Knicks’ starters as a whole, but specifically Randle and Bullock as they combined for 15 of the 28 points scored. The competitive portion of this game was over before the fourth quarter even began—this was the statement win the ‘Bockers needed after back-to-back ugly losses.

Elfrid Payton also chipped in a solid night with 11 points, six rebounds, nine assists, two steals, a block. New York’s beloved rookie Immanuel Quickley had 12 points and standout sophomore R.J. Barrett added 14 points. All-around strong performance for Tom Thibodeau’s go-to starting lineup, especially on the defensive end holding the Pistons to only 81 points on 35.4% shooting.

Saturday’s win was the largest margin of victory for the Knicks since a 46-point win over the infant Toronto Raptors in April 1996, per the team.

Although Detroit is not, well, a good team, this is a win is even more important when you look ahead to the Knicks’ next few games as they face the Nets, Celtics, and Grizzles next week, all of which are current playoff or play-in teams.

Big week ahead as the men in orange and blue look to put themselves in the driver seat for one of the east’s playoff seeds.

 

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