Pistons look to bounce back against reeling Knicks


The Detroit Pistons (26-24) hope to get back on track tonight as they host the struggling New York Knicks (23-28) who have lost six of their last seven games.

The Pistons are back on their home floor in the second game of yet another back-to-back set. This bodes well for Detroit not only due to the fact that the they are 15-8 at home this season versus 11-16 on the road, but also because the Knicks have lost four straight road games. While these numbers are encouraging, they will be meaningless if the Pistons don’t bring the effort and intensity that was lacking in the first quarter and for several other stretches in last night’s loss to the Celtics.

These two teams last played on December 29 in what was a 108-96 win for the Knicks. Andre Drummond had an off night scoring just 13 points on 5-15 shooting with nine rebounds, but the Pistons got pretty decent production from almost everyone else.

Carmelo Anthony’s 24 points, along with Kyle O’Quinn and Derrick Williams combining for 30 points off the bench, was the difference. It didn’t help that the Knicks shot 54 percent from the field including 50 percent from three.

The Pistons will need to defend the perimeter more effectively tonight as the Knicks lack a true post threat and will rely mainly on jump shots.

The Pistons will probably be without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tonight after he suffered a strained groin caused by slipping on a wet spot on the TD Garden floor last night. The Pistons hope that the MRI scheduled for today will reveal that the injury will not keep KCP out for any significant period of time. Hopefully he doesn’t miss too much time, as his perimeter defense and shot making ability are imperative to the Pistons’ success, especially against a team like the Knicks that relies heavily on perimeter scoring.

Here are a couple of other things to look for tonight:

Lineup Tweaks

If KCP sits out, the Pistons will almost certainly insert Stanley Johnson into the starting lineup. Beyond that, it seems logical that Darrun Hilliard will see increased minutes, and we may see more of Reggie Jackson and Brandon Jennings on the floor at the same time. Stan Van Gundy may even need to dust off Reggie Bullock if Johnson gets into foul trouble.

Drummond vs Lopez

Robin Lopez was a major factor in the last game, blocking six shots and frustrating Drummond with his effort on defense while helping contribute to a collective effort by the Knicks’ frontcourt to limit Drummond to just nine rebounds. Hopefully Andre remembers this and comes out motivated to show why he’s an All Star this season.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Detroit Pistons

Reggie Jackson
Stanley Johnson
Marcus Morris
Ersan Ilyasova
Andre Drummond

New York Knicks

Jose Calderon
Arron Afflalo
Carmelo Anthony
Kristaps Porzingis
Robin Lopez