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Pistons vs. Knicks preview: Young players look to guide Detroit to 2-0 start

Detroit faces off against New York on the first night of a back-to-back

Detroit Pistons v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Fresh off a thrilling 113-109 opening night victory, your Detroit Pistons travel to Madison Square Garden to face the pesky New York Knicks. The hometown Knickerbockers enter the night looking to etch their first win of the season following a narrow loss to the Memphis Grizzles in their first contest.

Detroit will look to make amends from its Oct. 5 preseason showing at the Garden, where a lifeless Pistons team was blown out by 21. While it was only game one of the preseason, the Knicks’ size on the interior provided a host of matchup problems for the lackadaisical Pistons.

However, after withstanding the wrath of the Magic’s supersized front-court, Dwane Casey and his players seem to have managed to learn ways to counteract such size deficits.

Game Vitals

Where: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
When: Wednesday, October 21 at 7:30 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (+6.5)


As previously highlighted, Detroit got completely outplayed by New York on Oct. 5. The veteran-led Knicks schooled the Pistons’ young core with in-your-chest defense, forcing the visitors into 21 turnovers, 14 of which were clean steals by the home side.

Cade Cunningham will need to exude a tight handle on the tempo of tonights game. The 21-year-old can’t afford to gift New York easy points in transition via costly turnovers. While he was marginally inefficient two nights ago against the Magic, Cunningham did an excellent job orchestrating the offense, finishing with a game-high 10 assists, with only 3 turnovers.

On the interior, New York boasts a hefty frontline with Mitchell Robinson as the starting center, backed up by Isaiah Hartenstien, both 7-footers. In their prior meeting, New York outscored Detroit 62-40 in the paint, an insurmountable deficit for most teams.

Though Casey will be without the services of two bigs of his own in Nerlens Noel and Marvin Bagley III, Jalen Duren appears more than ready play significant rotation minutes. The 18-year-old posted an impressive 14 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks in his NBA debut, altering the state of play with his protection of the paint and becoming the league’s youngest ever to record his first career double-double.

Another avenue for Detroit to counteract the Knicks’ burly style of play is by finessing Tom Thibodeau’s defense with efficient perimeter shooting. Shooting, and spacing for that matter, has been absent from the roster for the better part of a decade. And while Detroit’s marksmen failed to strike during preseason play, opening night was a welcome respite.

Led by Bojan Bogdanovic, the Pistons connected on 14 treys, with 6 coming from the team’s new power forward. The added threat and gravity Bogdanovic provided on the perimeter opened up numerous driving lanes for Jaden Ivey and Cunningham to exploit.

If Detroit are able to maintain similar control of the rock like they did against the Magic, plus limit New York’s interior potency, the Pistons should have a shot a nabbing an unlikely victory at the Garden. Something they haven’t done since April 19th, 2019.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (1-0)

Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isiah Stewart

New York Knicks (0-1)

Jalen Brunson, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson.

Question of the Day

At what point of the season to you see Jalen Duren starting, if at all?