Knicks-Pistons Preview

The New York Knicks felt like they came out flat in their last

game due to the early start time. They get a second chance this

weekend to play under those same circumstances.

The Knicks look to bounce back from a loss and try for their

first five-game road winning streak in 10 seasons Sunday when they

take on the Detroit Pistons.

New York (8-9) had its five-game overall win streak end with a

99-90 loss to Atlanta in a Saturday matinee at Madison Square

Garden. The one o’clock start didn’t agree with the Knicks, who

fell behind by 10 after one quarter and 18 at the half.

“When we came out, we had no pop,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We

didn’t push the tempo, we got way behind and we paid for it.”

The Knicks turned in their lowest point total in 10 games.

They’ll have a quick turnaround for the 1:30 start on the road

Sunday.

“We had no energy from the start. With these early games,

sometimes it happens that way,” forward Amare Stoudemire said. “We

can’t make excuses. We have to be mentally ready for these early

games and we were not.”

Stoudemire had 24 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth 20-10

effort of the season. Raymond Felton added 18 points, but Danilo

Gallinari was held to four after averaging 21.0 during the Knicks’

win streak.

“Everybody has slip ups and we had a slip up. We are not

satisfied with it but it happens,” Felton said.

The Knicks’ last five-game road win streak was Dec. 22,

2000-Jan. 19, 2001.

New York took three of four last season from Detroit (6-10), and

did an excellent job against Richard Hamilton. The Pistons shooting

guard played in three of those games, shooting 27.1 percent and

averaging 13.3 points.

Hamilton is less of a scorer this season than in years past,

averaging 12.9 points for his lowest mark since his 1999-00 rookie

season with Washington. The Pistons used him as more of a playmaker

Friday, and it paid off in a 103-89 win over Milwaukee, as he had

nine of Detroit’s season-high 28 assists.

The passing helped the Pistons place seven players in double

figures, led by Rodney Stuckey’s 18 points. Without a go-to

superstar, Detroit is learning that unselfish play is the best

strategy to employ going forward.

“We have a lot of talent on the team and when were sharing the

ball and trying to make plays for each other, good things will

happen and it showed tonight,” Hamilton said.

The Pistons have been inconsistent on defense in splitting their

last four games, allowing teams to shoot 53.9 percent, 38.5, 52.3

and 38.6 in succession. Coach John Kuester used a heavy dose of

zone defense to limit the Bucks on Friday.

“We had three smalls in at that time,” Kuester said. “We said

hey listen let’s see what happens with the zone and the players

really enjoyed and did a great job today.”

Using a smaller lineup may not be a good idea against a Knicks

team that leads the league with 130 blocks.