Pistons come from 21 down to beat Knicks 111-107
NEW YORK (AP) Stan Van Gundy sees such a difference in his Detroit Pistons that he considered picking Andre Drummond to shoot a technical foul shot.
He’s not quite ready for that, but he’s already convinced this team has what last season’s lacked.
”I think that anybody watching us can see a difference from what they had seen a year ago in terms of the spirit and the energy and the fight,” Van Gundy said. ”I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”
Tobias Harris scored 22 of his 31 points in the second half, and the Pistons erased a 21-point deficit to beat the New York Knicks 111-107 on Saturday night.
Harris was one of the many Pistons who had little going to start the Pistons’ second game in two nights, but they turned it around after halftime to spoil the Knicks’ home opener and improve to 2-1 after going 37-45 last season.
”All throughout last year we weren’t a good team on the road so it’s been a big emphasis for us to be able to grind out games on the road, not give up and really just fight them out,” Harris said, ”and that’s what we were able to do tonight.”
Kristaps Porzingis scored 33 points, but New York fell to 0-2 after losing to former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City in its opener. He thought he was fouled when Drummond blocked his shot with the Pistons up three in the final minute.
”It’s good that I am able to be aggressive on the floor and score for my team,” Porzinigis said. ”But a few of those plays at the end I got fouled.”
Drummond had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost 115-111 in Washington on Friday and seemed to have little energy left early Saturday.
But they were solid down the stretch, getting the tiebreaking three-point play from Reggie Jackson with 1:41 remaining. He closed it out with four free throws in the final eight seconds and finished with 16 points.
”We actually came to play,” Jackson said of the difference in the second half. ”We wanted it.”
Enes Kanter had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who played without rookie Frank Ntilikina, the No. 8 pick from France who sprained his left ankle in practice Friday.
New York led 57-36 on Kanter’s three-point play, but Detroit cut it to 64-51 at halftime and had a quick start to the third quarter after Van Gundy started veteran Anthony Tolliver, who hadn’t played in the first two games.
”I told the guys, defense was great but it’s got to be great for 48 minutes. It can’t just be for a half,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. ”We’ll get better at that.”
Pistons: Drummond had his 230th double-double since entering the league in 2012-13, trying Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins for most in the NBA during that span. … The Pistons had lost their last four games in New York.
Knicks: Kyle O’Quinn scored 15 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 14. … Center Willy Hernangomez, an All-Rookie selection last season, didn’t play.
FREE THROWS FALLING
Drummond was 3 for 3 at the line and has hit all six attempts this season after making under 40 percent each of the last three. Van Gundy overruled his assistants who wanted him to let Drummond shoot a technical, but he believes a player who was often fouled intentionally because of his poor percentage has corrected his form.
”He’s going to shoot free throws well and so I’m actually hoping somebody will start grabbing him now,” Van Gundy said.
Ntilikina has battled injuries since not long after former team president Phil Jackson took him in the draft. He sat out summer league, and played little in the preseason. His latest injury came when he rolled his ankle when the Knicks were playing 4-on-4 at their practice facility, and Hornacek said it was easy to see the frustration in Ntilikina’s face knowing he was hurt again.
Pistons: Host Philadelphia on Monday night.
Knicks: Visit Boston on Tuesday night.
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