Pistons stumble to Knicks on the road

Associated Press
Pistons center Andre Drummond and Knicks center Robin Lopez battle for a rebound during the first quarter.

New York — Another strong start for the Knicks, and this time they got the finish they wanted.

Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and New York got a rare win even without the injured Kristaps Porzingis, beating the Detroit Pistons 102-89 on Saturday night.

Robin Lopez added 21 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who ended a three-game losing streak and won for just the fourth time in 20 games. A night after a fourth-quarter collapse in Boston, the Knicks blew open the game with a 21-4 run after the game got close in the fourth.

BOX SCORE: Knicks 102, Pistons 89

“Guys responded well, especially after the loss that we had last night, and guys came to play tonight,” Anthony said.

Arron Afflalo made all seven shots in the first half and finished with 20 points. He and Lopez both shot 9 of 12 and the Knicks finished at 53.2 percent from the field.

Porzingis, the Knicks’ second-leading scorer, was ruled out a little less than an hour before the game with a bruised lower left leg. The team said X-rays were negative and interim coach Kurt Rambis said he would be day to day.

But the Knicks were sharp without their rookie star, shooting 60 percent in the first half and pulling away when the Pistons got within four points early in the fourth quarter.

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“I think we did a great job as a team of staying consistent with our focus, whereas yesterday, Boston made a couple of runs, especially near the end, and we reacted the wrong way,” Lopez said. “Today, whenever Detroit made a run, we usually had a pretty good response.”

Actually, it only happened once, according to Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy.

“We made one run in the entire game. I was not impressed,” he said.

Andre Drummond had 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Pistons, who dropped their second straight after a four-game winning streak. Tobias Harris had 18 points and eight boards, but point guard Reggie Jackson was 3 for 17 for eight points.

“Our energy wasn’t there from the beginning of the game,” Harris said. “Our focus level really wasn’t there.”

It was tied at 21 after one before the Knicks made 14 of 19 shots (73.7 percent) in the second, closing with a 12-2 burst and outscoring Detroit 35-21 en route to a 57-42 lead.

Detroit battled back to cut it to 81-77 with just under 10 minutes to play, but it was all Knicks from there. Afflalo followed Kyle O’Quinn’s basket with five straight points as the Knicks reopened a double-digit lead, and Anthony had three straight baskets at the end of the run to make it 102-81.