Pistons hang on to beat Knicks despite blowing big lead


111. 64. 105. 27. Final

After dominating the first half to the tune of a 24 point halftime lead, the Detroit Pistons let the New York Knicks back in the game with an abysmal third quarter, and even trailed with two minutes left in the fourth.

It took some late Reggie Jackson heroics to prevent the Pistons from suffering what would have been arguably the worst loss of the Stan Van Gundy era.

The Pistons energy to start the game was fantastic, and they jumped all over the Knicks immediately, looking every bit like a playoff team despite playing without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. If the Pistons could have started the second half like they started the first, this game would have been over much, much sooner.

Here are the grades.

REGGIE JACKSON. A-. Reggie’s grade prior to the final two minutes of tonight’s game was probably in the B- range, but when you hit two straight threes to save your team from an embarrassing loss, you deserve a bump. I thought Reggie played good, not great in his other 30 minutes. He only had one turnover, and although he struggled early on with his shot he kept the ball moving on offense and got others involved. He finished with 21 points on 6-16 shooting with five assists. It had to feel good hearing the Palace crowd chant “REG-GIE! REG-GIE!” during a nationally televised game. . PG. Pistons

A+. Stanley looked fantastic filling in for KCP in what was the second start of his career. He was aggressive on offense, yet avoided forcing bad shots and trying to do too much like he has at times this season. He stayed in attack mode and made some clutch baskets down the stretch when it looked like the rest of the team was playing not to lose. Stanley finished with an impressive line of 22 points on 7-12 shooting with nine rebounds, five assists and two steals. . SF. Pistons. STANLEY JOHNSON

MARCUS MORRIS. C-. Marcus had an up-and-down game tonight. He started the game well, but got frustrated guarding Carmelo Anthony in the second half and picked up a senseless technical foul when the Knicks were within six points. He then missed a wide open lay up after grabbing a loose ball off a missed free throw, and he left Langston Galloway wide open for a game tying three pointer after performing one of the worst hedges against a high ball screen that I have ever seen. Despite the rough finish, Marcus ended up with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.. SF. Pistons

C. Pistons. ANDRE DRUMMOND. B-. Andre came out of the gates looking like a beast. He had eight points and eight rebounds in the first quarter, and he was extremely active on both ends of the floor in the first half. At the start of the third, Andre picked up his third and fourth fouls, the fourth coming on a silly reach in under the Pistons’ basket. His and the rest of the starters’ lack of energy set the tone for a brutal quarter. Andre played better in the fourth, and despite being pulled by Stan Van Gundy with two minutes to go, he finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds. The fact that Robin Lopez finished with 26 and 16 did not help Andre’s grade.

B. Jennings was effective off the bench tonight, scoring 11 points on 4-6 shooting with three rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes. He also had a three pointer taken away at the end of the first half when Andre Drummond touched the ball while it was still in the cylinder. Jennings hit some big shots down the stretch to keep the Pistons afloat, and he was a team best +16 on the night.. PG. Pistons. BRANDON JENNINGS

C. Baynes wasn’t necessarily bad tonight, but he wasn’t too good either. He scored 6 points on 3-7 shooting and pulled down just one rebound in 16 minutes. The one thing that sticks out is that he missed some shots from close range that Pistons fans have come to expect him to make, including an air ball on his first shot attempt of the game.. C. Pistons. ARON BAYNES

B. Tolliver made his only shot attempt of the game, and boy was it a big one. The Pistons had just gone down by two points, trailing for the first time in the game with about two minutes to go when Tolliver drained a three to put the Pistons right back on top. He also pulled down five rebounds in his 15 minutes. . PF. Pistons. ANTHONY TOLLIVER

Pistons. ERSAN ILYASOVA. C. Iyasova hit two three pointers to start the game, but shot just 2-7 the rest of the way, finishing with 12 points and five rebounds in 31 minutes.. PF

DARRUN HILLIARD II. B. Hilliard was solid in his 15 minutes, scoring six points on 3-4 shooting while looking comfortable on the floor. If he can continue to knock down shots he could make a case for more playing time even when KCP returns. Whether it happens this season or not, I think Hilliard will be a productive player before all is said and done. . SG. Pistons

C. Coach Van Gundy must have gotten through to his players after last night’s loss to the Celtics, because they looked like an entirely different group in the first half of this game. But as good as they were in the first half, they were equally as bad in the third quarter. SVG has got to find a way to get the Pistons to play with energy and focus for four quarters. Aside from that, I liked his rotations in this game, especially in the first half when he moved Stanley Johnson over to small forward to play with the bench unit alongside Hilliard and Jennings.. Head Coach. Pistons. STAN VAN GUNDY