Amare nets 37 as Knicks survive in 2OT
Raymond Felton would have happily spent Sunday in bed, trying to recover from a stomach bug.
Instead, the New York Knicks' guard played 53 minutes against the Detroit Pistons, finishing with 23 points and 11 assists in New York's 125-116 double-overtime victory.
''I'm definitely pretty sick,'' Felton said, slumped in a chair in the tiny visitor's locker room at the Palace of Auburn Hills. ''I was doing everything I could out there, trying to get us a win, but I certainly wasn't excited about playing one overtime, much less two.''
Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni had to ride his starters hard in New York's second afternoon game in as many days. With Ronny Turiaf (knee) on the sidelines, four Knicks starters - Felton, Landry Fields, Amare Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari - all played at least 50 minutes.
Stoudemire finished with 37 points and 15 rebounds, but that isn't what impressed his coach.
''He does what a leader needs to do,'' D'Antoni said. ''He's never down, and he never gets cross - he just keeps leading and leading. Raymond was sick today and real quiet, but Amare filed the void. That's what great leaders do.''
The Pistons, who had been off since beating Milwaukee at home on Friday, got 31 points from Tayshaun Prince, including 21 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
''I thought Tayshaun Prince was phenomenal,'' Pistons coach John Kuester said. ''He made big shot after big shot.''
Rodney Stuckey added 29 points for Detroit, but only two other players scored more than six.
Gallinari hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second overtime, giving the Knicks a 115-109 lead, and Wilson Chandler made it a nine-point game with another 3 on the next possession.
''I thought Amare was such a factor inside that they had to collapse on him,'' D'Antoni said. ''Give he and Raymond credit, because they kept finding the open shooter. At that point, it is a very high-percentage shot.''
Prince tied it at 99 at the end of regulation and then made a three-point play to knot it at 109-all in the first overtime.
Jason Maxiell started for Detroit at power forward, but when he struggled against New York's pace, Kuester went with Tracy McGrady at the beginning of the second half. McGrady played small forward with Prince moving to power forward.
''I'm trying to be aggressive,'' said McGrady, who finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. ''Hopefully, when I'm out there, I can be the playmaker and score the ball. It's getting there, but it is still more for a quarter than a whole game.''
Neither team took control through the first three quarters, with the biggest lead only eight points.
Detroit led 78-75 after three quarters, but Felton hit two 3-pointers to give the Knicks an 92-86 lead midway through the fourth.
The Pistons got the margin back to two, but back-to-back dunks by Stoudemire and Chandler made it 97-91 with 3 minutes to go.
Detroit rallied to tie the game at 97 when Richard Hamilton made two free throws with 40 seconds left.
Stoudemire answered with two free throws to put New York ahead 99-97, but Prince's 17-foot jumper tied it again. The Knicks set up a final play, but Gallinari missed a long 3 over Prince at the end of regulation.
Prince's jumper put the Pistons up 106-105 in the first extra session, but Stoudemire answered with a layup. After a Pistons miss, the Knicks got three shots on their next possession, with Felton tipping in his own miss to give the Knicks a 109-106 lead with 20.2 seconds left.
Prince answered with a three-point play and Chandler missed at the buzzer to force the second overtime.
Notes: In another attempt to match the Knicks' up-tempo style, Kuester put Austin Daye into the game in the third quarter. Daye had barely played in recent games after starting 11 of Detroit's first 12 contests. ... Detroit hit its first 18 free throws before Stuckey missed in the fourth quarter. ... Stoudemire (54) and Fields both had career highs in minutes, with Fields' 51 being the most by a rookie since Derrick Rose played 55 for the Bulls on March 9, 2009. Stuckey and Prince led the Pistons with 43 each.