The New York Knicks' dismal defensive effort led to their 102-89 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. The poor tone was was spearheaded by Carmelo Anthony, who got roasted by both Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris as the Pistons built an insurmountable lead. Receiving such an inferior effort from their superstar isn't something that figures to be a likely occurrence for New York.
With that in mind, there were also quite a few things that went right (at least for three quarters), including the play of point guards Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings. They put together strong performances to give their squad a strong 1-2 punch at the floor general position.
Though he only dished out two assists, the way Rose ran the floor created opportunities for others. There was plenty of triangle action, as players kept moving and spacing the floor. Rose displayed confidence and picked his spots effectively, often converting on high-percentage looks inside. His ability to shoot over his defender makes him difficult to defend, which led to 19 points.
Jennings, after showing such promise in the preseason, had left much to be desired through the first two games. Perhaps playing against his former team in Detroit gave him the necessary motivation to have an early breakout performance. That added level of swagger returned, as Jennings displayed a refreshing level of exuberance as soon as he hit the hardwood. Keeping opposing defenses on their toes with some skillful penetration is going to be a continued theme for New York's point guards this season. Taking that into consideration, Jennings undoubtedly showed value once again. The 27-year-old seamlessly created his own offense by adding 12 points and connecting on two shots from long range. He had some good pick-and-roll action going with Kristaps Porzingis as he helped the Knicks' offense flow well in the first half.
The elevated point guard play adds a whole other dimension to this team, much like how Joakim Noah's defensive effort factored in a win against Memphis. The key for New York going forward will be finding a collective rhythm and seeing all the right things come together at the same time. If the Knicks can do that, they'll be a very competitive team. Such consistency wasn't there just yet against Detroit.