The Knicks ended the first half of their season in style, defeating the Detroit Pistons, 114-104, on Thursday night to take a 19-18 record into the All-Star break.
Five things to know from Thursday's win
1. In his first game back from a hamstring injury, Elfrid Payton came out of the gates strong, attacking the rim and connecting on his first three shot attempts, finishing with eight points in the quarter.
Meanwhile, Julius Randle got off to a nice start, scoring 10 points to go along with four rebounds. As a team, the Knicks shot 13-for-19 in the first, looking smooth on offense with just three turnovers. The Knicks took a 33-27 lead into the second.
2. After hitting his first three-point attempt late in the first, Frank Ntilikina hit two more early threes to get things going in the second quarter, giving himself a quick nine points in his first three minutes of action.
Randle (18 points), Payton (nine points), and RJ Barrett (10 points) paced the Knicks in the first half, and New York ended the second quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 59-46 lead into the break.
3. The Knicks came out of the halftime break a bit sluggish, but Payton continued to be a force in his first game back following a four-game absence. The veteran hit a tough floater with just over seven minutes left in the quarter to give himself 14 points on the night, pushing the Knicks’ lead backup to 11 at 70-59.
Eventually, the Knicks got back into their groove, anchored by stingy defense, as has typically been the case this season. By the end of the third quarter, all five Knicks starters were in double-digits, led by Randle’s 23 points. New York took a commanding 93-74 lead into the final quarter.
4. The start of the fourth quarter belonged to the Pistons, as Detroit cut the Knicks' lead to 12 points with under eight minutes to go. A couple of former Knicks in Dennis Smith Jr. and Wayne Ellington then hit a pair of threes, cutting the New York lead to 10.
The Pistons kept things interesting, but ultimately the Knicks were able to hold onto the lead to come away with the win.
5. Taking a look at the box score, Randle led the way with 27 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists. Barrett finished with 21 points, four rebounds, and five assists, and Payton had 20 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists.
The Knicks will enjoy six days off, though Randle and Obi Toppin will be heading to Atlanta for All-Star Weekend festivities on Sunday.
New York returns to action on Thursday, March 11, when they face the Bucks in Milwaukee.