Knicks win 3rd straight behind Alec Burks’ 34 point night
Alec Burks scored a season-high 34 points off the bench as the New York Knicks avoided an embarrassing loss in Detroit and connected three straight Ws by defeating the Pistons 94-85.
Burks, an 11-year veteran, scored 19 points while shooting 6-8 from the field, including 4-5 from behind the arc in the 4th quarter, while all the starters were benched. In fact, Julius Randle, Kemba Walker and Mitchell Robinson combined just 14 points while RJ Barrett finished with 15.
Alongside Immanuel Quickley, who dropped 18 last night, the Knicks bench combined 65 points, almost 70% of their total points.
“I was trying to be aggressive, play defense and get stops. Man it was a phenomenal effort. We just played hard.”
– Alec Burks
The Knicks went on a 11-0 run early in the second quarter to take a 36-23 lead but the Pistons would fight back and, led by Saddiq Bey and Hamidou Diallo, stormed the Knicks in the 3rd quarter to take a 66-52 lead with 3:18 left. The Knicks, who led 48-41 at halftime, found themselves scoring just four points in a span of almost 9 minutes. It was the time for coach Tom Thibodeau to pull the plug on Randle and Barrett, the last starters still on the court, and take them out for the rest of the game.
The second unit, in full control, needed just 5 minutes to tie the game. The whole dynamic changed with Quickley leading the offense. They scored 14 points by the end of the third quarter with Burks connecting a 3 point play just before the buzzer to cut the lead 64-71, and tied it 71-71 with 10:29 left to play after a three pointer by Burks. Obi Toppin and Alec Burks connected for an alley-oop to take a 73-71 lead on the next play and from there, the Knicks never looked back.
Saddiq Bey scored 33 points for Detroit and Diallo added 31 buckets. The Pistons, just like the Wolves earlier, were another opponent decimated by medical protocol absences or injuries; just four guys of their original 15 player roster were safe to play and in order to avoid postponing, the Pistons needed to add eight hardship exceptions to their roster.
Randle, finished with just 5 points but still collected 10 rebounds and dished out 5 assists in spite of shooting just 2-11 from the field. After the game, coach Thibodeau said Julius was suffering from an injury.
“He’s nicked up. I think that he’s giving us everything he has. That’s what I love about him. He’s not making any excuses. He just gets out there, he keeps going.”
– Tom Thibodeau
The Knicks outscored the Pistons 46-28 in the paint and 15-9 in fast break points. But on other stats, they were close. Each team had 17 turnovers, 5 blocks, 11 steals and 19 assists.
Up-next: The Knicks (17-18) will travel to Oklahoma City on New Year’s eve to take on the Thunder (12-22) from 8:00 pm