Tough loss at the Garden
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New York vs Detroit
79 - 105
Record: 13-25
Eddy Curry blocked by Detroit's Rasheed Wallace (AP Photo)
Eddy Curry blocked by Detroit's Rasheed Wallace (AP Photo)
NEW YORK (AP) - Larry Brown knows what the Pistons have, and he knows what the Knicks were missing. So he wasn't surprised by what he saw Thursday night.

Richard Hamilton scored 26 points, Rasheed Wallace added 23, and Detroit beat undermanned and overmatched New York 105-79 for its sixth straight victory.

With Antonio Davis suspended for going into the stands the night before in Chicago and leading scorer Stephon Marbury still injured, the Knicks trailed by as many as 30 points and matched their worst loss of the season. They have dropped four in a row in a span of five nights.

"It was like the JV against the varsity," said Brown, who coached the Pistons the last two seasons. "I think they could've beaten us by 50."

Marbury sprained his left shoulder in Monday's loss to Minnesota, then Davis was ejected from Wednesday's overtime loss in Chicago for entering the stands to confront a fan he thought was harassing his wife.

Davis was suspended five games by the NBA on Thursday. With he and Marbury out, the Knicks were forced to start three rookies for the first time in 20 years against what many consider the NBA's best starting five.

"They just did anything they wanted," Brown said. "Rip could have had 100, actually. It hurts us not having Steph and Tony, but then again they're at a whole different level than we are right now."

Tayshaun Prince scored 18 points for the Pistons, who have won both meetings this season against Brown. He led Detroit to NBA Finals appearances in both his seasons with the Pistons, including the 2004 title.

This season's team looks better than either one Brown had. While improving the best start in franchise history to 32-5, the Pistons have won every game during their current winning streak by double digits.

"Kind of how we've been for 37 games," coach Flip Saunders said. "Different guys lead us over different parts of the game, play unselfish. Thirty assists, eight turnovers, that's kind of where we've been when we win games. I think how we played tonight against New York is pretty much how this team has played through the first half of this season."

Counting Wednesday's 117-89 victory at Atlanta, Detroit has won road games on consecutive nights by a combined 54 points. The Pistons didn't even need much from star guard Chauncey Billups , who scored only two points on 1-of-7 shooting.

"It seemed like they could look at each other and not call a play and know exactly what play they're running," Knicks rookie Nate Robinson said. "They are so poised."

Eddy Curry scored 26 points for New York and Channing Frye had 15. New York last started three rookies on April 12, 1986: Gerald Wilkins, Bob Thornton and Chris McNealy.

The Pistons needed a little more than 9 minutes to open their first double-digit lead and were rarely challenged. They scored the final seven points of the first quarter to take a 28-13 lead, and they were still up 15 at halftime.

"When a team is short-handed, you can't allow them to hang around and feed off their emotions," Pistons center Ben Wallace said. "Knowing that they got guys out, guys want to come out and play a little extra hard, try to pick it up. You can't afford to let those type teams hang around too long."

Hamilton had 16 points at halftime, shooting 7-of-9. With Wallace adding 15, the duo had two fewer points than New York after 24 minutes.

Prince scored 11 points in the third quarter, and the lead ballooned to 74-59 when he hit consecutive 3-pointers late in the period. The lead grew to 30 when Wallace and Maurice Evans nailed back-to-back 3s midway through the fourth.

By then, the fans had already begun booing the Knicks, though they cheered when Darko Milicic - rarely used under Brown - checked in at the next timeout. Milicic got another big cheer when he scored with 4:57 remaining and finished with six points in 6 minutes.

Ben Wallace blew a sure two points in the first quarter. Alone on a breakaway after making a steal, he seemed stuck between trying to dunk and laying the ball in and missed the shot. ... New York also lost by 26 on Sunday at Toronto. ... With Detroit in town, the Knicks celebrated "Retro Night" and had Motown recording artists Martha Reeves and the Vandellas perform at halftime.

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