Thibs, new-look Knicks start with a win in Detroit in preseason opener
- Updated: December 12, 2020
Ladies and gentlemen, the Knicks are (once again) back! With a defensive minded Tom Thibodeau as head-coach, who promises bring back the 90’s defense, the Knicks routed the Pistons 90-84 in Detroit in the first preseason game of 2021-22 season.
Nine months after the longest break the NBA has seen due to the SARS-Cov2 pandemic, the Knicks have come up with a revamped from the scratch face of the franchise that not only includes a new head coach but a new front office and at some level a new roster too.
Obi Toppin, New York’s lottery pick of the 2021 NBA Draft played 20 minutes off the bench in his debut and finished with 11 points, 7 rebounds, one block and one assist, being the most productive bench player.
“It’s still feels unreal. Our guys did what we had to do today to pull the W.”
– Obi Toppin
Nerlens Noel, another new addition to the roster got the starting job over Mitchell Robinson and scored 10 points, grabbed 8 boards and blocked 2 shots while the former starter scored just two but collected 7 rebounds, had 4 steals and blocked a couple as well, as he made his presence felt moreover on the defensive side. Coach Thibs couldn’t be happier about this.
“The rim protection is elite. And then the finishing at the basket. I’ve been very pleased with Mitchell as well. When you have two bigs that are like that, it’s a big bonus. And they’re very similar. I’m not sure who I’m going to start, but I like both of those guys, and I’m going to need them to play well to play well as a team.”
– Tom Thibodeau
RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 15 points, Julius Randle followed with 11 buckets, 8 rebounds and 6 assists while Elfrid Payton also finished in double figures with 10 points. Looking at the stats sheet a very good feeling is given by the fact that every single player that was sent in contributed with buckets, and as a team, the Knicks shot over 45% from the field.
On the other side, the Pistons were led by the second unit as Saddiq Bey and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk posted 14 points each and former Knick Derrick Rose added 10, all of them off the bench. The Pistons starting lineup was led by Blake Griffin’s 9 points but together they combined just 24 points.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday, same time, same place.