The Detroit Pistons entered The Mecca of Basketball to face the New York Knicks. The Knicks were hot and the Pistons were coming off a heart breaker against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. They were also sporting a new point guard and it was clear they needed some time to gain some chemistry.
The game started with New York star Carmelo Anthony going right at Kyle Singler. Singler started by forcing a jump ball, but the Knicks won the tap and Anthony went right at Singler again and got a soft jumper to go. The next possession, Anthony went at Singler again and got fouled. New York was up 4-0. Jose Calderon, making his Pistons debut after working out his visa issues, knocked down a jumper to get Detroit on the board.
Then after another Calderon jumper and a Greg Monroe layup to get to within 9-6, New York got the 3 ball going. Iman Shumpert knocked one down, Anthony followed that up with one of his own, and J.R. Smith hit one for a 20-6 lead.
Detroit got to within 22-13 on an Andre Drummond dunk and a Rodney Stuckey layup, but that’s as close as the Pistons would get the rest of the game. Smith and Pablo Prigioni hit back-to-back 3′s to end the quarter and the Pistons trailed 28-13 after one.
The 2nd quarter started with back-to-back Amar’e Stoudemire dunks sandwiched around a Smith free throw and the Knicks led 33-13. Jonas Jerebko and Will Bynum got the Pistons to within 37-23 but Anthony made a 3 to make it 40-23. Brandon Knight answered with a 3 of his own, but Smith made another 3 to make it 43-26. Anthony followed Smith with another New York 3 to make it 46-26, and on the next possession Raymond Felton through an alley-oop to Tyson Chandler who slammed it down over Monroe. As if the Pistons didn’t have enough problems on the perimeter, now they had to worry about Chandler and Stoudemire.
Another Chandler dunk made it 50-28 and then Steve Novak hit a 3 to make it 53-28. Calderon would answer with a 3 to make it 53-31, but Anthony answered with two stright layups. Anthony bullied Singler and ran past Jerebko and Stuckey all night long. Detroit trailed 57-36 at halftime.
In the 3rd, a Calderon layup made it a 61-42 game and a Monroe layup made it 63-44. In classic Knicks fashion, they answered with a 3. Shumpert knocked it down followed by an Anthony pull up to make it a 22 point game. Stoudemire and Chandler each had dunks to end the 3rd and Detroit trailed 76-58 after three.
The 4th quarter started with, you guessed it, a 3 from Smith to make it 79-58. Charlie Villanueva, Bynum, and Monroe had six straight points to make it a 15 point game, but Stoudemire had two free throws and an alley-oop to make it 83-64. Anthony made two free throws to make it 85-64 and then Detroit had a 7-0 run to make one last, desperate push.
Stuckey had a layup, Bynum had a free throw, Stuckey had another layup, Villanueva had a reverse layup, and Stuckey had one last layup to make it an 85-73 game.
Smith and Novak then made back-to-back 3′s to put the game to bed. New York had a 91-75 lead and coach Lawrence Frank emptied the bench. Kim English and rookie big man from the Ukraine, Slava Kravtsov came into the game. Kravtsov and Bynum had back-to-back layups to end the game as the Pistons dropped the second straight 99-85.
Calderon led the Pistons with 15 points on 7/12 shooting, three assists, and a key stat: 0 turnovers. Monroe had 13 and 10 rebounds, and Stuckey had 14. Drummond didn’t play in the 2nd half after aggravating a back injury he had in the 98-97 loss to the Lakers on Sunday. He said it’s not a long-term thing.
What I took from this game is, Calderon really knows how to run an offense. He only had three assists tonight, but that number would’ve been around six or seven if his teammates finished off some passes he threw. He looked really good for a guy who just met his new teammates and things can only get better with more practices and such.
As far as the playoff race goes, Detroit is now 7 games back of the 8th place Boston Celtics. I think it’s a little too late now to make a playoff push these last 33 games. Right now, you just keep grooming Andre Drummond, try to get Jose Calderon more in sync with the team, and have him teach Brandon Knight the point guard position. Another big thing is, you want to learn how to win. You don’t want to lose on purpose just to get a higher draft pick. Just keep playing hard and learn how to win basketball games.