There may not be a bigger disappointment early on than the New York Knicks.
Coming off a revelation of a season last year, they’ve struggled to start this season. Julius Randle has regressed, Kemba Walker has been a bust, and RJ Barrett (out tonight) just isn't good enough to fill in the gaps. Luckily for them, they welcome the Pistons to MSG tonight.
Detroit hasn’t won a road game since Nov. 13 in Toronto, while the Knicks haven’t won at home since Nov. 23. Something’s gotta break, right? They can’t tie? RIGHT??
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +7
The weird thing about the Knicks is I love some of the guys on this roster.
Alec Burks is finally having a breakout season with 11.6 points per game on good percentages. He’s a very important cog and has overcome every injury in the book.
Derrick Rose is still doing Derrick Rose things, Evan Fournier is still a solid option. The only veteran not playing well outside Randle is Kemba — and he just dropped 29 points in his return to the lineup last game.
Even New York’s younglings are starting to show stuff. Immanuel Quickley will miss tonight’s game due to COVID protocols, but he’s been a steady hand and savvy scorer while Quentin Grimes has flashed some good things lately. Even Obi Toppin (out tonight), who did NOT look like and NBA player as a rookie, is playing his ass off and giving them great energy and production.
But when your star is struggling, it doesn’t matter.
Randle’s shooting numbers are down across the board. He’s not hitting 3s at the same clip and his inside game has left a lot to be desired. He’s missing big free throws in big moments and his unsustainable mid-range shooting has predictably regressed.
He’s still a triple-double threat any night, but they need to get him back on track.
For Detroit, I think we know the story. Headband’d Saddiq Bey has been awesome, pouring in 23+ points in each of his past three games. He’s really played well since Jerami Grant went down with an injury, a good sign considering how bleak it felt for him before.
Butttttt, my big storyline is around Cade Cunningham.
I’ve always felt when visiting stars step onto the court at Madison Square Garden, it feels like a different game to them. Players of that level just take their game to another level.
They try to do big things because New York is New York. It’s the biggest stage. We see so many individual massive performances at MSG, and it doesn’t matter if the Knicks are good or bad — they feel legendary.
I’m not saying Cade Cunningham is destined for a 50-point night or anything, I’m just saying I think he’s going to have his eyes on the prize tonight.
Detroit Pistons (5-24)
Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Hamidou Diallo, Isaiah Stewart
New York Knicks (13-17)
Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, Evan Fournier, Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel
Question of the Game
We’re about to see Cade on the New York stage for the first time in the NBA. What’s your guess at his final line?