AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Pistons finally clamped down on defense, in plenty of time to secure their third straight win.
Tobias Harris scored 25 points and Marcus Morris added 22 to lift the Pistons to a 102-89 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night. Detroit closed the game with eight straight points, and the Knicks didn’t score after Derrick Rose’s bank shot with 5:40 remaining.
"I thought our offense in the first half was excellent," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Defensively, I thought we finished the game real well."
The Pistons have won three in a row — all by double digits — since dropping their season opener. They held New York to 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points for the Knicks, and Rose added 19.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 19 points for Detroit, and Andre Drummond had nine points and 13 rebounds.
It’s been an encouraging start for Detroit, which has been playing without injured point guard Reggie Jackson. The Pistons shot 55 percent from the field in a smoothly played first half, and Detroit was up 64-55 after two quarters.
"I have been very amazed about how we move the ball," Caldwell-Pope said. "Everybody is getting equal shots. Nobody is being selfish. We are being a little too unselfish, but that’s good."
The offenses bogged down in the second half, and the Knicks had chances to close the gap in the fourth quarter. Down 94-89, New York’s Lance Thomas missed from the perimeter. Morris made two free throws at the other end with 3:22 remaining.
A 3-pointer by Caldwell-Pope put the Pistons up by 10, and Harris added a three-point play with 1:11 left.
"It just didn’t go down tonight," Rose said. "When the shots aren’t falling, we have to depend on our defense even more. We have to play the type of game where if we’re having a hard time scoring, you’re definitely going to have a hard time scoring. That’s the mentality and culture we’re trying to build."
Knicks: Joakim Noah had only two points, but he contributed eight assists and 11 rebounds. … Former Detroit G Brandon Jennings scored 12 points for the Knicks.
Pistons: Detroit outscored the Knicks 50-32 in the paint. … Harris had 10 rebounds. … Ish Smith, starting in place of Jackson (knee), had 10 points and eight assists. … The Pistons went 8 of 13 from 3-point range.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said his team’s stamina may have played a role in the offensive struggles late.
"We’re not in the kind of condition that we need to be to play offense and defense for 48 minutes," Hornacek said. "It looked like we did get a little tired and that’s going to affect the shooting."
The Knicks had only three turnovers in the first half, and the Pistons had only two. That was a big reason the game was so high-scoring early. New York finished with 12 turnovers and Detroit had 11.
Van Gundy wasn’t totally buying the idea that the Pistons have had no problems without Jackson. Smith and Beno Udrih were a combined 8 of 23.
"I think anybody in the league would tell you that we’re playing well, but Reggie’s just a really difficult guy to guard in the pick-and-roll. So we miss him, and that’s taking nothing away from Ish and Beno."
Knicks: Host Houston on Wednesday night.
Pistons: Detroit heads to New York as well. The Pistons face Brooklyn on Wednesday night.