The Knicks beat the Pistons a 13th consecutive time in a game that was closer than it should’ve been behind Jalen Brunson’s 42-point night.

The New York Knicks (11-7) defeated the Detroit Pistons (2-17) by a final score of 118-112 in a hard-fought game between New York, a playoff contender, and Detroit, a struggling youthful team.

The Knicks were coming off a blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets at the Garden on Tuesday, clinching the wild card spot in the Eastern Conference for the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament. Julius Randle was absurd against the short-handed Hornets, scoring 25 points and grabbing 20 boards. On the other side of the court, the Pistons had been struggling coming into New York City. Having won just two games up til tonight, they were also on a 15-game losing streak.

The game kicked off with some sloppy passing from the Knicks leading to a quick Cade Cunningham slam, but they quickly settled in on offense with some sharp defense on the Pistons and taking advantage of Detroit’s porous defense. Jalen Brunson was especially sharp, a welcome sight after a silent night in their Tuesday night IST game. But, New York went completely cold for a good part of the first period, which gave Detroit some composure back despite their turnovers piling. A Randle three-pointer broke that cold snap, though, and the Knicks looked settled in yet again against the young Pistons squad. Brunson was back to hitting threes in bunches, and Detroit was struggling to keep up. Thanks to him and Randle, and thanks to Detroit’s rudderless offense, New York ended the quarter up 14.

The Knicks just had to keep up their defense on the Pistons to force more turnovers, and had to find consistent bench unit scoring. They were doing both to open the second, making Detroit pay for lapses on defense and from around the three-point line. But, the Pistons weren’t just rolling over in the contest, and they slowly began to build momentum off drawing shooting fouls and playing some defense on the Knicks’ second unit. Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes lead the comeback charge making New York quickly reinsert Mitchell Robinson and Brunson to get the Knicks flowing again on both ends. Thanks to more three-point scoring from Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo, New York began to expand their lead again. But, Marcus Sasser for the Pistons was ablaze from long range, killing the Knicks’ momentum every time he got the ball in the period. They climbed back from a 16-point deficit, and the contest was all tied up through two frames.

To open the second half, New York had to commit a lot more on defense and had to find offense outside of Brunson. They were finding a flow through ball movement but, were still struggling to convert on shots not taken by Brunson. On defense, they were letting too much blow by them in the paint for easy points from Detroit. Hayes was especially troublesome for the Knicks, getting anything he wanted on the floor. The pace was much faster than what the Knicks’ defense could handle, and the Pistons were tying things up or taking the lead several times in the third. Despite New York passing the ball more and getting to the foul line to finish the period, Detroit managed to keep a two-point lead heading into the fourth.

The battle between the two teams to maintain a lead continued early in the final quarter of regulation. But, Detroit seemed to have an edge in terms of energy and shot-making over New York that was unshakeable. A DiVincenzo three-pointer seemed to jolt some life into the Knicks, and they were able to get back up four with just over eight minutes left in the fourth. The threes kept pouring in for Detroit, though, while New York kept on settling for two-pointers in response. DiVincenzo continued to be a steady source of scoring for the Knicks, but they had to get a stop on the Pistons to get a large lead going. New York managed to get a seven-point lead with about two minutes left, finally stringing together stops. Thanks to some savvy scoring from Randle to ice things, the Knicks were able to hand the Pistons their 16th straight loss.

Brunson had 42 points on 7-12 shooting from three-point range while collecting eight assists, six rebounds, and a steal. Randle had 29 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, while Barrett had a quiet 15 points, two assists and one board. Robinson had six points, nine rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. Grimes had just one rebound and two steals.

DiVincenzo was the Knicks’ leading bench scorer with 12 points, three boards, two assists, and a block. Josh Hart had seven points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a steal, while Immanuel Quickley struggled with five points, two assists and one rebound. Isaiah Hartenstein had two points, three rebounds, and three steals.

New York now travels north of the border to square off with the Toronto Raptors for the first time this season tomorrow night.

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