Pis­tons’ de­fense ices Knicks

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Noah Tris­ter

The Detroit Pis­tons fi­nally clamped down on de­fense, in plenty of time to se­cure their third straight win.

To­bias Har­ris scored 25 points and Mar­cus Mor­ris added 22 to lift the Pis­tons to a 102-89 vic­tory over the New York Knicks on Tues­day night. Detroit closed the game with eight straight points, and the Knicks didn’t score af­ter Der­rick Rose’s bank shot with 5:40 re­main­ing.

“I thought our of­fense in the first half was excellent,” Pis­tons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “De­fen­sively, I thought we fin­ished the game real well.”

The Pis­tons have won three in a row — all by dou­ble dig­its — since drop­ping their sea­son opener. They held New York to 10 points in the fourth quar­ter.

Carmelo An­thony scored 24 points for the Knicks, and Rose added 19.

Ken­tavi­ous Cald­wellPope scored 19 points for Detroit, and An­dre Drum­mond had nine points and 13 re­bounds.

It’s been an en­cour­ag­ing start for Detroit, which has been play­ing with­out in­jured point guard Reg­gie Jack­son. The Pis­tons shot 55 per­cent from the field in a smoothly played first half, and Detroit was up 64-55 af­ter two quar­ters.

“I have been very amazed about how we move the ball,” Cald­wellPope said. “Every­body is get­ting equal shots. No­body is be­ing self­ish. We are be­ing a lit­tle too un­selfish, but that’s good.”

The of­fenses bogged down in the sec­ond half, and the Knicks had chances to close the gap in the fourth quar­ter. Down 94-89, New York’s Lance Thomas missed from the perime­ter. Mor­ris made two free throws at the other end with 3:22 re­main­ing.

A 3-pointer by Cald­wellPope put the Pis­tons up by 10, and Har­ris added a three-point play with 1:11 left.

“It just didn’t go down tonight,” Rose said. “When the shots aren’t fall­ing, we have to de­pend on our de­fense even more. We have to play the type of game where if we’re hav­ing a hard time scor­ing, you’re def­i­nitely go­ing to have a hard time scor­ing. That’s the men­tal­ity and cul­ture we’re try­ing to build.”

TIP-INS

Knicks: Joakim Noah had only two points, but he con­trib­uted eight as­sists and 11 re­bounds . ... For­mer Detroit G Bran­don Jen­nings scored 12 points for the Knicks.

Pis­tons: Detroit outscored the Knicks 50-32 in the paint . ... Har­ris had 10 re­bounds . ... Ish Smith, start­ing in place of Jack­son (knee), had 10 points and eight as­sists . ... The Pis­tons went 8 of 13 from 3-point range.

WEAR­ING DOWN?

Knicks coach Jeff Hor­nacek said his team’s stamina may have played a role in the of­fen­sive strug­gles late.

“We’re not in the kind of con­di­tion that we need to be to play of­fense and de­fense for 48 min­utes,” Hor­nacek said. “It looked like we did get a lit­tle tired and that’s go­ing to af­fect the shoot­ing.”

STICKY FIN­GERS

The Knicks had only three turnovers in the first half, and the Pis­tons had only two. That was a big rea­son the game was so high-scor­ing early. New York fin­ished with 12 turnovers and Detroit had 11.

RE­PLACE­MENTS

Van Gundy wasn’t to­tally buy­ing the idea that the Pis­tons have had no prob­lems with­out Jack­son. Smith and Beno Udrih were a com­bined 8 of 23.

“I think any­body in the league would tell you that we’re play­ing well, but Reg­gie’s just a re­ally dif­fi­cult guy to guard in the pick-and-roll. So we miss him, and that’s tak­ing noth­ing away from Ish and Beno.”

CAR­LOS OSORIO — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Knicks guard Der­rick Rose shoots as Pis­tons’ Aron Baynes de­fends dur­ing Detroit’s vic­tory over New York.

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