Written by William Lee
Both the New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons were shorthanded, but it was the Pistons who overcame the adversities and was victorious Tuesday night. Winning 92-86 despite their starting point guard Brandon Jennings leaving the game early with an upset stomach. Pistons were also without point guards Chauncey Billups (knee tendinitis) and Will Bynum (groin, hamstring). The Knicks were also without their starting point guard Raymond Felton, who missed the game because of hamstring soreness and a pinched nerve in his hip. Beno Udrih stepped into the starting lineup, but was held scoreless in 18 minutes of action. Mike Woodson decided to go to a big lineup to match up with the Pistons’ large frontline. Without Tyson Chandler and Metta World Peace, Kenyon Martin joined Udrih in the starting lineup for his first start of the season. Woodson also decided to put JR Smith back to his sixth man role, and inserted Iman Shumpert back into the starting lineup.
Both teams got off to a hot start, shooting over 50% in the first quarter. The Pistons lead 26-24 after one period, behind seven points from Josh Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope respectively. Andrea Bargnani led the way for the Knicks with nine first quarter points, highlighted by a driving and one dunk. The Knicks cooled off in the second quarter missing 14/21 shots, with so many misses, the Knicks kept themselves in the game with five offensive rebounds in the quarter. Amare Stoudemire showed flashes, with back to back spectacular dunks, part of an 8-0 Knicks run, to take a 34-28 lead with 8 minutes left in the first half. Brandon Jennings came back into the game, and was content with setting his teammates up, collecting four assist the rest of the half. With his fourth assist leading to a Gigi Datome buzzer beating three to end the half, to tie the game up at 43-43.
Carmelo Anthony struggled all game long, going 8/20 field goals with 7 turnovers. Anthony kept attacking the paint against the long outstretched arms of the Piston frontline, but was not getting any call. Anthony kept complaining with the referees instead of running back on defense all night long, Pablo Prigioni at one point needed to foul on purpose to stop a five on four fastbreak. On the following possession, Anthony attacked the paint again, only to be met by Andre Drummond, who blocked him, and as Anthony was complaining to the referee, Drummond streaked up the court on the fastbreak. The referees finally had enough of Anthony’s complaints, giving him a technical with 4:09 left in the third quarter, after Anthony complained about getting fouled on a jump shot by Josh Smith. The frustrating night for Carmelo Anthony would continue, as he committed an offensive foul coming out of a Knicks’s timeout on the very next possession. This was his fourth personal foul, relegating him to the bench.
Rodney Stuckey caught fire late in the third quarter, scoring the final seven Piston’s points, including a buzzer beating pull up jumper. Stuckey continued his dominance scoring the first five points for the Pistons in the fourth quarter, single-handedly leading the Pistons on a 12-4 run steaming from the third quarter to the fourth. Ending with an assist to Andre Drummond, the dunk that gave the Pistons a 78-63 lead with 9:22 left in the game. Josh Smith seemed like he was a double agent, with his poor decision making and shot selection keeping the Knicks in the game. He went 1/7 in the fourth quarter, at one point taking a bad three point shot selection, then on the next possession having poor clock management, leading to a turnover. This lead to a Shumpert three and Anthony free throws respectively for each possession.
Under two minutes, this play summarized the whole night for the Knicks, Rodney Stuckey dribble into the paint, drawing Andrea Bargnani to defend him, no one slides down to help the helper, and Josh Smith gets a wide open layup with both Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith electing to stay with their man. The wide open layup gave the Hawks an 89-82 lead with 1:04 left in the game. The Knicks then tries to pressure the ball instead of fouling, only to end up fouling anyway. Pistons hit their free threes, and go on to win the game. Both teams will not have much rest, as the Pistons will have a home and home match up with the Hawks starting Wednesday. And the Knicks will look to seek revenge for a playoff exit at the hands of the Pacers.