NEW YORK (AP) — Perhaps one day Jalen Brunson will be able to look back and savor the roars of a sold-out crowd that officially welcomed him to Madison Square Garden.
Not now. He came to New York for wins, not applause.
“It was great, it was a great feeling. But I mean, all of that goes out the window if you don’t try to win games,” Brunson said. “So, I’m just doing my part to help this team win.”
Brunson scored 17 points in his first home game with his new team, Immanuel Quickley rebounded from a rocky start with 20 and the Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons 130-106 on Friday for their first win of the season.
RJ Barrett, who also struggled in an overtime loss at 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 took control late in the first quarter.
Barrett was 3-for-18 on Wednesday, missing all six of his 3-point attempts. Quickley came off the bench and didn’t score, 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 play was great,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “When you play the game that way, the game is easy for everyone.”
Saddiq Bey had 26 points for the Pistons, who beat Orlando in their first game. Detroit fell behind by 15 points in the first quarter before recovering that victory, but it didn’t recover from the kind of deficit the Pistons faced on Friday.
“Opening night for the other team, they were a hot team,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “I thought that 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 court late in the first quarter, with a 3-pointer by Derrick Rose 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 run that extended it to 42-24.
The advantage reached 69-44 with a triple by Evan Fournier 2 minutes from the end of the break and 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 cut a 29-point deficit to 91-79 late in the third, but the Knicks responded with an 18-2 run in the fourth quarter, with Toppin having two dunks early in the period, to make it 109-81. .
The Knicks missed the playoffs last season, when Kemba Walker started the season at point guard but didn’t last. He eventually got traded to Detroit while the Knicks were lining up his books to make a run at Brunson.
So far, it seems like a good move.
“This is a really good team,” Casey said. “This is definitely a playoff team, a high-level playoff team, so this is a very, very good game for us.”
Pistons: Rookie C Jalen Duren, whose rights the Pistons acquired from the Knicks in a draft-night trade, had eight points and 10 rebounds. … Casey said G Alec Burks, who played the past two seasons for the Knicks, was nowhere near coming back from a broken left foot.
Knicks: New York has won the last nine meetings. … Rose scored 13 points.