|New York @ Detroit|
|96 - 110|
That wasn't good news for the New York Knicks .
After what players described as a mini-training camp designed to integrate newly acquired Allen Iverson into the Pistons system, Detroit had an easy time beating the undermanned Knicks 110-96 Wednesday night.
"Those two days made a dramatic difference, especially on defense," said Iverson, who finished with 16 points. "I'm always playing with effort, but now I know where I'm supposed to be - I know the team rules now."
The Pistons looked nothing like the team that had been blown out at home by Minnesota on Sunday. They had eight players score in double figures - the first time they had done that since 1990 - and had a 49-20 advantage in bench points.
"It was great to see our second unit have a great game like that," Pistons coach Michael Curry said. " Rodney Stuckey was the catalyst for that group, and Amir Johnson did a great job of rebounding the basketball."
Stuckey has been struggling with health problems - dizzy spells that caused him to miss two games and a wrist injury after a hard foul by Shaquille O'Neal on Nov. 16.
On Wednesday, Stuckey had 13 points and a career-high 11 assists, while Johnson broke out of a slump with 12 points and a career-best 13 rebounds.
"That's what we needed to do," Stuckey said. "The last two days were good for me, because I feel like I'm getting the strength back in my wrist. It's been 10 days since Shaq fouled me, and I'm still hurting."
While the Pistons were starting to feel comfortable with Iverson, the Knicks were still trying to put together a roster after trading away their two leading scorers.
"It's going to be a little while until we get some chemistry out there," New York coach Mike D'Antoni said. "For Al Harrington , it has been about a month, Tim Thomas is out of shape and struggling with his wind, and they aren't playing up to what they are - that's to be expected."
To make things tougher for New York, Nate Robinson missed the game with a groin strain, leaving the Knicks with just eight players. One of those - starting guard Quentin Richardson - played despite an arm injury.
"That's why I like these guys," D'Antoni said. "I asked Q if he could go, and he said he couldn't shoot, but he'd play. That's all we can ask for."
Harrington led the Knicks with 25 points, while David Lee added 17 points and 15 rebounds and Wilson Chandler scored 15.
"It's a transition," Lee said. "Once we get it figured out, I think we have a chance to be a really good team, but right now it is a bit of a learning process."
New York was able to stay close for the first nine minutes, but the Pistons responded with a 23-7 run that put them up 40-23 in the second.
Detroit led 59-43 at the half, having outshot the Knicks 53 percent to 38 percent and getting 16 assists to New York's seven.
"You could definitely see they were struggling out there," Iverson said. "It's hard to bring guys into a new system and have them produce right away. Believe me, I know."
The Knicks got within nine in the third, but couldn't get enough stops to make a serious run. Their defensive woes were in stark display at the end of the period when Stuckey drove through the entire team to hit a buzzer-beating layup.
Notes: Chandler was ejected with 1:05 left in the third quarter after punching a loose ball in frustration after a foul was called on the Knicks. ... Harrington and Tim Thomas played their second games since the recent trades, but Cuttino Mobley has still not joined the team. ... The Pistons are 5-5 since trading Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess for Iverson. ... The Pistons last had eight players score 10 or more points on Jan. 19, 1990, against Golden State. They went on to win the second of back-to-back titles that year.