Friday after solid advance season, The Knicks played better with only a quarter to Sunday’s review and dropped the 99-91 decision to the Pistons at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
The rookie lottery selection hit the ground running with a subtle performance in OB Topin’s second game and was as flawless as it was in the introduction of Nix’s defense coach Tom Thibodo.
Thibodo had the same starting lineup and the unit floated them after a bad start. But the Knicks ’bench was terrible and the club scored 16 points in the final.
Dabin came from the pine to score only four points in a 1-to-9 shootout, including a 3-for-6. Pistons coach Duan Casey adjusted, dared to shoot the Knicks, set up 2-3 zones and equalized the score.
Alec Burkes (15 points) started the second straight game with a small lead and led the third quarter rally, before the Knicks took the lead before folding in the fourth quarter.
RJ Barrett had a strong evening (25 points, 10 out of 17 from the field) but blew a change setting with 4:30 left after Julius Randle stole.
The Knicks showed many good signs in keeping Detroit at 80 points on Friday, but retreated. It was a bad night for the 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox (6 for 1, two Airballs) and back point guard Dennis Smith Jr.. Backup center Mitchell Robinson made five mistakes in his first 11 minutes.
After 10 at half time, the Knicks played with more spirit to start the second half, their defense and shooting outside. Burkes, who signed Pump and free-agent Barrett on 11 points in the third quarter, started the second straight game and added nine in the production of three 3-pointers.
The Knicks marched to take a 3-point lead, leveling after a three-quarter 75, but the young bench could not keep up the pace.
The Knicks’ defense was much lower on Sunday than on Friday. On Sunday, they allowed 31 points in the first quarter because the Pistons got a lot easier baskets. Blake Griffin, second-rate, punched a wide-open 3-pointer and Derrick Rose and Delon Wright dropped for easy lay-ins.
Thibauto’s team was not sharp from the 3 – point line on Friday, but their incompetence was magnified on Sunday when Detroit went into a zone. They fell 1-20 from a 3-point line in the first quarter to fall 31-20.
Coming off the bench, Knox looked at the kilometer dangerously, started two airballs from the perimeter and went 3-0 at intervals. As the Knicks closed within 52-42, a 3-pointer on the rand was left with 1 second to go.