7:00 PM ET | Little Caesars Arena
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM
1. The fourth quarter of Thursday’s game belonged to the orange and blue. New York took control in front of the home crowd and a national audience during an impressive fourth quarter that led to a monumental 102-93 win over the Celtics. The Knicks generated a crucial 13-4 run in the middle of the final frame after the game was tied at 75-75 with 8:42 on the clock. In the fourth period, New York outscored Boston 34-25 despite its leading scorer struggling to find any offensive rhythm. Kristaps Porzingis returned to the floor after missing two consecutive games (sore knee) but the big man had a rare off night. The bench crew for the Knicks picked up the production by scoring a combined 56 points. Enes Kanter registered a double-double and Jarrett Jack scored 12 points in the win that evened the season series against the Celtics at one apiece.
2. Michael Beasley is quickly emerging as a go-to offensive threat for New York. The 28-year old has sparked the team off the bench and stepped into the starting lineup when injuries have forced head coach Jeff Hornacek to adjust the rotations. Beasley or the “Walking Bucket” as classified by his teammates is instant offense. Last night in the win over Boston, Beasley scored 18 points of his season-high 32 points in the fourth quarter. In the final period, Beasley nailed 7-of-10 shots from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds. He finished with 32 points and 12 boards in just 25 minutes of total court time. Over his last five games, Beasley is putting up notable numbers by averaging 22.6 points on 52.9 percent shooting from the floor to go along with seven rebounds.
3. Beasley’s performance was incredible on Thursday night but the Knicks defense should not be overshadowed. New York held one of the best offensive team’s in the NBA to 38.4 percent shooting from the field. This season, the Knicks have moved up the defensive rankings in the NBA as they allow 103.5 points per game (12th) and currently rank No. 4 in opponent’s field goal percentage (44.3%).
4. New York and Detroit met on October 22 at Madison Square Garden for the second game of the season. In that specific contest, the Pistons battled back from 21 points down to upend the Knicks 111-107. Porzingis scored 33 points and Kanter posted 17 in the defeat. On the opposite side, Tobias Harris led Detroit with 31 points and Andre Drummond added 21 points. The Knicks are drastically different since the first encounter. New York has won five of its last six games and the team holds a 17-14 overall record. The Pistons are 17-14 as well but they have suffered seven losses in their last 10 outings heading into tonight’s rematch.
5. Detroit fell 110-93 to the Mavericks on Wednesday night in Dallas. Stan Van Gundy is attempting to find the right alignment to counter the loss of Avery Bradley. The shooting guard will miss his fourth consecutive game on Friday due to a groin injury. Most likely, Van Gundy will start Anthony Tolliver to match New York’s big frontcourt duo of Porzingis and Kanter. Detroit owns a 9-5 record in its new home arena in the downtown area and the Knicks begin a stretch with seven of their next nine games on the road.