Knicks Lose Their 15th In A Row, Falling To The Pistons
Andre Drummond had 29 points and 20 rebounds, and the host Detroit Pistons handed the Knicks their 15th straight loss, 120-103, on Friday night.
It was a league-high ninth 20-20 game for Drummond this season and his 29th over all. Since the 1988-89 season, only Dwight Howard (51) and Shaquille O’Neal (34) have more.
Dennis Smith Jr., recently acquired from the Dallas Mavericks, scored 31 points for the Knicks.
The Knicks rallied from a 21-point second-quarter deficit, tying the game in the third quarter. But Detroit avoided a repeat of its collapse last weekend against the Los Angeles Clippers, when the Pistons lost after leading by 25. They have won three in a row since then.
Blake Griffin scored 26 points for the Pistons, who traded Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson in deadline deals but kept enough of their top players to make a postseason berth still plausible. Detroit began the day one and a half games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“Beyond the wins, we’re playing with the right spirit and playing basketball the right way,” Griffin said. “The basketball gods reward you when you play the right way.”
The Knicks have lost 28 of their last 30, and they looked overmatched at the start, falling behind by 21-5. It was 41-22 after one quarter, and the Pistons led, 63-54, at halftime. Drummond had 20 points at the break.
The Knicks kept chipping away in the third quarter, ending it trailing by only 89-84. But the Pistons quickly pushed the lead back to double digits in the fourth.
The Knicks finished 26 of 41 on free throws, and Smith was 11 of 19. He went 1 of 6 in the fourth quarter.
“It just ends up breaking you when you don’t hit those shots, especially after you gain so much momentum fighting back,” Knicks Coach David Fizdale said. “But I was pretty proud of the way the kids battled back and got themselves into that game.”
BULLS 125, NETS 106 Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead Chicago to a rout of the Nets at Barclays Center.
Markkanen scored at least 30 points in his third straight game, and the Bulls scored more than 100 points for the 17th consecutive game. Zach Levine added 23 points, and Otto Porter Jr. had 18 in his first game with the Bulls.
“We just weren’t really locked in defensively,” the Nets’ Allen Crabbe said. “They got basically whatever they wanted, did whatever they wanted to do.”
The win, the first for Chicago against the Nets in seven tries, snapped a two-game skid. The Bulls, however, have still lost 16 of 19 dating to Dec. 30.
D’Angelo Russell, named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team earlier in the week, had 23 points for the Nets, who dropped to 29-28 with its third loss in five games. Crabbe and Joe Harris each finished with 19 points.
Nets guard Caris LeVert played for the first time since sustaining a subtalar dislocation of the right foot on Nov. 12 in a loss at Minnesota. LeVert, who had missed 42 games, finished with 11 points in nearly 15 minutes.
PELICANS’ DAVIS RETURNS Playing for the first time since asking to be traded, Anthony Davis had 32 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in 25 minutes, and host New Orleans beat Minnesota, 122-117.
Jrue Holiday had 27 points, and Kenrich Williams added 19 — and they led the Pelicans’ offense in the fourth quarter, when Davis was kept on the bench despite the fact that the teams were separated by as little as one basket several times. Instead of playing Davis, Coach Alvin Gentry sent in Julius Randle, who came through with inside baskets and clutch free throws in the final minutes.
Davis, who did not play for three weeks amid efforts by the Los Angeles Lakers to acquire him, seemed determined from the outset to justify his continued presence on the court, however awkward it may be for a franchise that had seemed inclined to move on without him. Pressured by the N.B.A. not to sit a healthy star they had refused to unload by Thursday’s trading deadline, New Orleans announced that Davis would return to the lineup.
He scored 10 points in the first seven minutes. On one occasion, he went strong to the rim and dunked while being booed, at which point a segment of the crowd cheering largely drowned out the hecklers. Later, as Davis prepared to take free throws, part of the crowd booed while others chanted, “A-D, A-D!”