Fresh legs should give the Detroit Pistons a little advantage on Friday night. That’s because coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t think his team was playing with enough effort in its last game.
Van Gundy didn’t play anyone for more than 30 minutes in a 110-93 loss at Dallas on Wednesday night. He benched his starters most of the second half as his team got outscored 67-41 in the second and third quarters.
“I saw no signs beyond the first five minutes of the second half that our guys wanted to compete at the level of Dallas,” he said. “So I didn’t see a reason to bring anybody back in.”
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Detroit’s opponent at Little Caesars Arena on Friday, the New York Knicks, will be playing the second end of a back-to-back. The Knicks surprised the Boston Celtics 102-93 on Thursday night.
The loss to the Mavericks snapped Detroit’s three-game winning streak. Dallas, which had won just eight games before Wednesday, shot 53.3 percent from the field and the Pistons (17-14) were limited to 42.9 percent shooting.
“For the game, but especially the last three quarters, you just had one team who played with a much higher level of intensity and a much higher level of offensive energy,” Van Gundy said. “It was just too much for us.”
Detroit shooting guard Avery Bradley will miss his fourth consecutive game on Friday because of a groin injury. Van Gundy has determined his starting lineup by matchups in Bradley’s absence. Against smaller frontcourts, he has used rookie swingman Luke Kennard. On Wednesday, he inserted power forward Anthony Tolliver.
Tolliver scored a team-high 18 points but the rest of the starters combined for just 31 points. The team’s top offensive threat, forward Tobias Harris (17.5 ppg), contributed just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Harris has failed to reach the 20-point mark in the last seven games.
“I thought he took bad shots. Period,” Van Gundy said. “I think we have some guys not playing well who are quote ‘Trying to get themselves going’ instead of just playing basketball.”
Harris shot the ball well against the Knicks in the teams’ first meeting this season on Oct. 21. He had 31 points as the Pistons rallied from a 21-point deficit to post a 111-107 victory at Madison Square Garden.
Reserve forward Michael Beasley had a huge night for the Knicks (17-14) against the Celtics, racking up 32 points and 12 rebounds. That offset an awful offensive showing by usual top scorer, Kristaps Porzingis. He missed all 11 of his shots from the field and scored one point in 23 minutes.
Porzingis missed the previous two games with a left knee injury.
“We’ve grown a lot,” Porzingis said. “I think we’ve grown a lot and I think we still have a lot of growing to do. We’re on the right track.”
Center Enes Kanter had 14 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday. He has been dealing with back and neck issues in recent weeks.
“The back is done with. He was really bad there for a while trying to play through it,” coach Jeff Hornacek said to Newsday and other media outlets. “We’ve had a couple of days to get rested, so he looked pretty bouncy.”
The Knicks are beginning a stretch where they play seven of nine games on the road.