The New York Knicks are plummeting from the playoff chase. The Detroit Pistons are trending in the same direction due to woeful play of late.
Monday night’s meeting in Detroit could be a high-scoring affair given these teams’ defensive struggles.
New York (21-39) has lost six straight while surrendering 114.8 points per game and letting opponents shoot 49.1 percent from the field. The latest display of ineptitude came in a 109-90 loss at Chicago on Sunday, which was also its ninth loss in the last 10 road contests.
The Knicks are six games behind Atlanta for the East’s final playoff spot, and considering their recent stretch, that margin seems even larger.
The return of defensive stalwart Iman Shumpert – who missed five games with a sprained left MCL – provided little help. New York fell behind 37-16 after the first quarter.
"They came out with more energy than we did, took advantage of us," said Tyson Chandler, who grabbed 22 rebounds. "On the defensive end, backdoor cuts that pretty much changed the game."
The Knicks are also sputtering offensively, averaging 91.7 points on 39.7 percent shooting over the last three contests. Carmelo Anthony, dealing with a sore right hand he aggravated in Friday’s 126-103 loss to Golden State, scored 21 against Chicago.
"It’s embarrassing," Anthony, who is averaging 24.3 over his last three after scoring 35 or more in four straight, said of his club’s play. "It’s frustrating and it’s embarrassing."
Things haven’t been much better for Detroit (23-36), which has dropped four in a row and seven of eight.
The Pistons have ranked among the league’s worst defensive clubs all season, allowing 103.7 points per game, but are even worse of late. Their last seven opponents have averaged 112.3 points while shooting 49.6 percent.
They let Houston shoot 70.8 percent while surrendering 41 first-quarter points in a 118-110 road loss on Saturday.
"In the first half, we didn’t play with the energy, enthusiasm or desire you have to play at to play against any NBA team, let alone a high-level team like Houston," interim coach John Loyer said.
Detroit is 3 1/2 games off the pace for the No. 8 seed.
"We have enough time to do anything, and we’re four games out, so it comes to what we do as a team," said Andre Drummond, who had his second straight 16-point, 17-rebound game for his East-leading 43rd double-double. "It can’t be one or two people. We have to be as a collective group to want to buckle down and try to win games."
Brandon Jennings is averaging just 11.1 points during the club’s 1-7 stretch while shooting 29.9 percent from the field – down from 17.8 and 38.3 previously on the season.
These teams split two earlier games, with New York winning 89-85 at home on Jan. 7 for its eighth win in nine meetings. Anthony scored 34 and was 6 of 7 from 3-point range while Josh Smith led the Pistons with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Anthony is 17 of 28 from deep in his last five matchups with Detroit.