Aftermath of playing Pistons shows ways of NBA

Knicks forward Cam Reddish (0) looks to drive past Detroit Pistons forward Isaiah Livers (12) Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Knicks forward Cam Reddish (0) looks to drive past Detroit Pistons forward Isaiah Livers (12) Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons last two opponents, the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, then faced each other. Each team looked a lot different than when they played Detroit.

There are plenty of Detroit Pistons fans who only watch their team’s games. Nothing wrong with that, but it is sometimes interesting to see how their opponents did, right after they have taken on Detroit.

If you watched strictly Detroit play this past week, you probably think the Knicks are an awesome team. They tore apart the Pistons, winning by 30 points, and the score does not even reflect how superior they played.

(The Knicks have really been a thorn in Detroit’s side all season, starting on their TNT broadcast preseason game, they pretty much have smacked them around every time)

You also probably consider the Mavericks as kind of ‘meh’. They let Killian Hayes (!) shoot all over them in the clutch and lost to the Pistons in overtime. It was Dallas’ sixth loss in seven games, so they were obviously leaking oil.

Maybe Dallas should have not have hung up the phone on Pistons’ general manager Troy Weaver when he inquired about Jalen Brunson (who they went on to lose in free agency) back in February.

Jalen Brunson to Pistons? Detroit tried. light. Related Story

So when the Mavericks went to Madison Square Garden to play the Knicks on December 3, we know what should have happened, based on how they did against the Pistons. Of course, being the NBA, the exact opposite occurred:

Dallas Mavericks 121, New York Knicks 100

The Mavericks blew open the game by out scoring New York, 41-15, in the third quarter.

Much like against the Pistons, Knicks forward Julius Randle was on fire at the start. He scored 14 points in the first period and the Knicks held a 15-point lead midway though the second quarter. But things went downhill from there, and Dallas’ Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. started to get hot.

After thrashing the Pistons, the Knicks had gone on the next night to play the Milwaukee Bucks tough in a close loss, so they had looked before facing Dallas. They also had the home crowd.

Yet, the result was nothing that could be expected, based on how each looked against the Pistons. The reason: the way of the NBA.

Why Knicks and Mavericks fortunes change quickly after playing Detroit Pistons

  • This not the NFL: The Lions only play 17 games, every game is thus extremely valuable. NBA teams go through a long, arduous 82 games. With that many, you have up and downs during a season. A loss to Dallas, even at home, in early December does not ruin the Knicks season, while the Lions , in terms of making the playoffs, are still paying for that close loss to the Eagles in their  opener.
  • Scheduled loss: Packing 82 games into seven months, trying to navigate other events at an arena, and having to play four to three games per conference opponent and two against out-of-conference teams, is a tall task. Sometimes, games get so crammed together team’s simply get exhausted.

Pistons coach Dwane Casey mentioned the poor performance against the Knicks could have been the after-effects of the long 12-day Western road trip they were coming off of.  They had given Cleveland a good game immediately after the return, andmaybe crashed and burned against the Knicks. With some rest, Detroit did look like a different team against Dallas.

  • It’s the NBA: Bad teams beat good teams all the time. To be on an NBA roster, even on a team with a lousy record, a player has to be very good. On a given night, whether a team is playing over its head, the heavily favored team does not play hard, or the home crowd inspires the less talented squad, upsets happen.

The top two teams currently in the Western Conference, are the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. Both were beaten by a shorthanded Pistons squad, which had not won an away game all season, on their home floor. Stuff happens.

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Realistically, Dallas beating the Knicks was not exactly a David vs. Goliath situation. The Mavericks have a better record (11-11 to 10-13) and made the Western Conference finals last year. But it is interesting how teams, who just played the Pistons, looked so different when they then faced each other.