NEW YORK (AP)Maybe someday Jalen Brunson can look back and savor the roars from a sold-out crowd that officially welcomed him to Madison Square Garden.
Not now. He came to New York for wins, not cheers.
”It was great, it was a great feeling. But I mean, all that goes out the window if you don’t try to win games,” Brunson said. ”So, just do my part to help this team win.”
The Knicks won – big.
Brunson scored 17 points in his first home game with his new team, Immanuel Quickley bounced back from a rough opener with 20 and the Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons 130-106 on Friday night for their first victory of the season.
RJ Barrett, who also struggled in an overtime loss in Memphis in the season opener, rebounded with 18 points. Obi Toppin scored 16, Julius Randle had 15 and there was no chance of another tense finish after the Knicks seized control late in the first quarter.
Barrett was 3 for 18 on Wednesday, missing all six 3-point attempts. Quickley came off the bench and was scoreless, missing all six of his shots.
But with Brunson, the New Jersey native who left Dallas to become New York’s point guard, finishing with six assists and no turnovers, the Knicks had 29 assists and shot nearly 53% from the field.
”The playmaking was great,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”When you play the game that way, the game is easy for everyone.”
Saddiq Bey scored 26 points for the Pistons, who beat Orlando in their opener. Detroit fell behind by 15 in the first quarter before working its way back in that victory, but there was no comeback from the type of deficit the Pistons faced Friday.
”Opening night for the other team, they were a hot team,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. ”I thought for stretches we played good basketball and other stretches they ambushed us.”
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 18 points and rookie Jaden Ivey had 17.
The Knicks began to pull away with their reserves on the floor late in the first quarter, with Derrick Rose’s 3-pointer capping an 11-2 run and making it 30-20 after one. Rose made another 3 for New York’s first basket of the second, this time starting a 12-2 burst that extended it to 42-24.
The lead reached 69-44 on Evan Fournier’s 3-pointer with 2 minutes remaining in the half and it was 72-52 at the break.
Detroit was 4 for 15 (27%) from both 3-point range and the free throw line in the first half. Hamidou Diallo missed all five attempts from the line.
The Pistons did cut a 29-point deficit to 91-79 late in the third, but the Knicks answered with an 18-2 run into the fourth quarter, with Toppin slamming down two dunks early in the period, to put it away at 109-81.
The Knicks missed the playoffs last season, when Kemba Walker started the season as the point guard but didn’t last. He was eventually traded to Detroit as the Knicks were lining up their books to make a run at Brunson.
So far, it looks like a good move.
”This is a very good team,” Casey said. ”This is definitely a playoff team, a high-level playoff team, and so this is a very, very good match for us.”
Pistons: Rookie C Jalen Duren, whose rights the Pistons acquired from the Knicks in a trade that was agreed to on draft night, had eight points and 10 rebounds. … Casey said G Alec Burks, who played the last two seasons for the Knicks, wasn’t close to returning from a fractured bone in his left foot.
Knicks: New York has won the last nine meetings. … Rose scored 13 points.
Pistons: At Indiana on Saturday.
Knicks: Host Orlando on Monday.
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