An early loss of center Mitchell Robinson doomed the Knicks against the Pistons on Wednesday night, with their fourth consecutive drubbing.

The Knicks’ 122-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons makes it four straight losses for New York. The ‘Bockers found themselves in just a five-point hole entering the second half, tied it quickly, and then unraveled.

Mitchell Robinson was moved back to the starting lineup after being benched last game. He fought hard in the paint against Andre Drummond, the leagues’ best rebounder, allowing him just two points and two rebounds before the second-year big man left the game.

An unintentional elbow to the head from Markieff Morris limited Robinson’s playing time to eight minutes. He finished with six points on 3-of-4 shooting and four rebounds.

New York came out passing rather well on offense. They swung the ball around the perimeter and penetrated when they could, finding Robinson for a couple of open dunks early on. But the bad defense continued, as Detroit shot 15-of-30 from three and picked up some easy transition buckets.

The Knick with the knack early on was Frank Ntilikina. The third-year guard put on a defensive clinic; contesting every shot, slithering around every screen, pestering ball handlers, and blocking three shots and recording one steal.

After David Fizdale saw the second unit play porous defense, Ntilikina was put back into the game after two minutes of rest to help the defense. He played 39 minutes, the most on the team, and recorded 11 points and four assists on 5-for-7 shooting.

The Pistons used a lot of handoffs and screens to get separation from defenders and quickly moved the ball to find the open man. Their screens were effective against the switch-happy Knicks. Kevin Knox, in particular, got caught on several screens, creating difficult situations for the rest of his teammates.

Detroit finished the game with 37 assists as a team, the second-highest mark of any team this season, and shot 55.7% from the field, the seventh-highest mark of any team this season.

Their defense was strong at the rim, forcing the frequently-slashing R.J. Barrett to shoot 4-of-12 from the field. Barrett drew fouls but only converted on six of his 11 attempts from the charity stripe.

Drummond had his way on the glass—as he always does—but also had plenty of sweet passes and effortless buckets in the paint. He recorded a double-double in the first half and ended with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists on 12-of-16 shooting.

The Pistons also got a big game from Tony Snell. He poured on 24 points and made all nine of his field goals (including six three-pointers). He gave the Knicks problems with his energy, too. He beat New York back on defense for some easy transition buckets and fighting valiantly on defense himself.

Randle bounces back

After struggling mightily over the last several games, Julius Randle had a bounce-back performance.

He started sloppily but found his groove in the second quarter. He hit a pair of three-pointers and threw down a vicious dunk on Drummond en route to scoring 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the quarter.

There were times where he seemed much more collected and took good shots as opposed to his usual flimsy drives into multiple defenders. Still, he found times to sprinkle in some of his usual sloppy shots.

Randle also left much to be desired on defense and recorded four turnovers with only two assists, but tonight was still a step in the right direction. He ended the night with a team-high 20 points on 8-of-15 field goal shooting.

Morris a Morris

Marcus Morris faced off against his identical twin brother, Markieff. The brothers were hitting shots left and right all night. They each hit a three-pointer to kick off the second half en route to being among the top scorers for their respective teams.

Marcus dropped 18 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Markieff hit three triples in the third quarter and finished with 22 points, four rebounds, five assists, and two steals.

The Knicks are back in action Friday night at 8:30 p.m. ET as they travel to Dallas to face the Mavericks.


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