Knicks Contain Drummond, Defeat Pistons 108-96

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NEW YORK — The Knicks received by efforts from Robin Lopez (11 points, 6 blocks) and Derrick Williams (18 points) to snap a four-game losing streak and beat the Pistons 108-96 at Madison Square Garden.

Melo lead the way with 24 points and kept the Knicks close throughout until Williams exploded for 16 points in the fourth on 5-6 shooting. The team effort was rounded out with Calderon (15 points), Kyle O’Quinn (12 points) and Kristaps Porzingis (10 points).

The main threat coming in was Andre Drummond, and the Knicks did a superb job of throwing different bodies at him and keeping him from dominating the glass. Although no Knick had more than 7 rebounds, Drummond was held to 13 points (5/15) and 9 rebounds. Leading the way for Detroit were Ersan Ilyasova (19 points) and Reggie Jackson (17 points).

A big positive to take from this game is the Knicks are 11-2 when they score at least 100 points. But a glaring problem this season has been the losing streaks — this was the third time the Knicks had lost four straight. If we hope to get a playoff spot, these stretches of futility cannot keep happening.

The Knicks are back in action on New Year’s Day against the Bulls.

Boos, Cheers and Late Hustle: Pistons 97, Knicks 81

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Make that 10 straight losses. The Knicks suited up just nine players tonight against the Pistons and spent most of the game in an offensive and defensive fog, going down by as many as 30 points before settling on a 97-81 defeat. Game like this don’t yield many positives. However, the game’s last few minutes allowed for a few moments of cheering.

 

EARLY PROVIDES A SPARK: Rookie Cleathony Early suited up for the first time since mid-November after going down with a knee injury. Nothing about his numbers tonight will jump out at you — 5 points, 1 rebounds and a steal in 14 minutes of play. But the rook showed strong effort. His most notable moment was a coast-to-coast drive that resulted in a three-point play opportunity. His ethusiasm picked up the energy of the rest of the team and got JR nailing a few threes to bring the lead back under 20.

With only a two minutes left, the fans knew the Knicks wouldn’t be overcoming a 16-18 point deficit. But the fact the team actually gave a damn resulted in loud cheers that would make you believe we were watching a tight playoff game.

Early hasn’t been tainted yet by the constant losing. Fisher should keep him in rotation and maybe his youthful enthusiasm will get contagious.

 

ANGRY BOOS: Before the late run, most of the night was filled with irate boos from the Garden faithful. The Pistons started pulling away in the second via an 11-0 run that put them up 40-27. With their best players out (Melo, Hardaway Jr, Stoudemire etc.), that Knicks were relegated to contested jumpshots and were shooting well under 40% They were outscored 33-18 in the second and down 58-37 at halftime.

The hammering continued in the third with Brandon Jennings sinking repeated threes. The fans were booing at every intermission and each time it seemed to sap the team’s focus and confidence. The lowest point came with Jennings hitting a three at the end of the third that put the deficit at 82-52.

 

RANDOM NOTES: JR Smith lead the team with 22 points, going 8/20 from the field (mostly due to chucking threes in the final minutes). Cole Aldrich had a solid outing against Andre Drummond with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks. Drummond had a low scoring night (7 points), but was a beast on the boards with 20 rebounds.

Andrea Bragnani was playing just his second game this season when he re-aggravated his right calf and left after a minute. No word on how much time he’s expected to miss.

The Knicks’ challenges mount as the team will play tough teams over the next week in the Grizzlies, Rockets, and Wizards.

 

 

Knicks Complete Perfect Home Stand with 99-85 Win Over Pistons

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Five and counting! The Knicks extended their winning streak to five games last night with a dominating 99-85 win over the Pistons. The Knicks are back to what they were doing in November and early December in destroying teams that aren’t on their talent level. Onto the game’s notable points.

 

NO FIRST QUARTER SLUMP: There was no slow start in this one as the Knicks held the Pistons to just 13 points, a record for their season thus far. Detroit was being out-hustled to every ball and their frontcourt of Andre Drummon and Jason Maxiell struggled to score over Tyson Chandler (a combined 4 points and 7 rebounds). The Knicks shooting was erratic (at times under 40%), but the defense and offensive rebounding gave them plenty of opportunities to the tune of six treys to take a 28-13 lead.

 

THE GAME ENDS: You know a team is doing well when they can laugh about an airball free throw (courtesy of JR Smith). Much to Coach Woodson’s chagrin, the team decided to turn this into a pickup game in spots with JR chucking threes and the team trying wild alley oops. However, the Pistons couldn’t take advantage with JR and Tyson crashing the boards and Novak getting hot from downtown. The half would end with the Knicks holding a 57-36 lead.

 

SECOND HALF SLOPPINESS: The Knicks mentally were clearly elsewhere no matter how much Woody yelled and glared. Chandler got lazy on defense and gave up easy layups to Drummond and Calderon early in the third. Melo, who had 19 points in the first half, also started slow in picking up his third and fourth fouls. Still, this is the lowly Pistons we’re talking about, and they could only get as close as 70-54 before some timely hoops by Stoudemire and Chandler helped to push the lead back up to 20 (76-56).

 

NOT MUCH REST: Since he was not pleased with the effort, it seems like Woody left the starters in for the fourth quarter to prove a point. The offense got bogged down in isolation ball for Melo and long JR treys. On defense, NY started getting beat a lot backdoor by speedy Detroit guards like Will Bynum. Nonetheless, three-pointers by Smith and Novak effectively iced the game at 91-75, and the starters were pulled at the 1:31 mark.

 

CHANDLER’ HISTORICAL MARK: Tyson Chandler had his third consecutive game with 20 rebounds, being the first Knicks player to do since Willis Reed 43 years. With the Wizards coming up next, he may just set a  new record.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtmnauL7YjY]