|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , April 10, 2019
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Attendance: 19,812
Detroit can clinch playoff spot with win vs. Knicks
Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks
- The Pistons have won six straight over the Knicks, including three straight at Madison Square Garden. Previously, the Knicks had won 12 of 14 home games against Detroit from 2009-10 through 2016-17.
- The Knicks are the only NBA team without a 1000-point scorer this season. The Knicks last had no 1000-point scorer in 2014-15. In between these instances, the 2015-16 76ers were the only NBA team without a 1000-point scorer.
- With a loss tonight, the Pistons would finish under .500 for the 10th time in 11 seasons. Only the Kings (11/11) and Timberwolves (10/11) have had as many losing seasons since 2008-09.
- Blake Griffin is the first Pistons player with at least 1800 points and 500 rebounds since Bob Lanier did so in four consecutive seasons, most recently in 1974-75.
- Andre Drummond's 1214 rebounds this season are 33 fewer than he had last season. The only other Piston to ever top his rebound total in either of the last two seasons was Dennis Rodman (1530 in 1991-92).
- The Knicks have gotten 2143 points from rookies this season, fourth in the NBA (Hawks, Suns, Mavericks). The Knicks last had more points by rookies in 1985-86 (2714) -- Patrick Ewing's rookie season.
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The Detroit Pistons still control their own playoff destiny heading into the regular-season finale -- but they're not making it easy on themselves.
Leading the Charlotte Hornets by one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons can lock up a postseason berth with a win against the lowly Knicks in New York on Wednesday.
Detroit seemed like a playoff lock less than two weeks ago but a four-game losing streak put the Pistons in a precarious situation. They were on the verge of a total collapse on Tuesday against the depleted Memphis Grizzlies, who dressed only 10 players, but rallied for a 100-93 home victory.
Detroit (40-41) was down 22 points in the first half and 15 entering the fourth quarter. But the Pistons outscored the Grizzlies 36-14 in the final 12 minutes.
"Getting into the playoffs is not easy," Pistons coach Dwane Casey told the media after the game. "We can talk about it, promote it, we can wish it but it's not easy. It takes a special approach, a special attitude, a special togetherness to get there."
The Pistons can also qualify with a Charlotte loss to Orlando on Wednesday but they'd rather take care of their own business.
Casey used a small lineup out of desperation in the comeback on Tuesday. He went with center Andre Drummond and four guards.
"I was looking for something that might work and it did," he said. "There's no mystery or magic wand. It's called hard play. Those guys scrapped. We gave up some rebounds in some size situations but I thought the energy that group brought changed the game."
Detroit had to go without All-Star forward Blake Griffin most of the second half. Limited by a sore left knee, Griffin scored a season-low five points in 18 minutes. His status for Wednesday's game is questionable.
The Knicks (17-64) are assured of finishing with the league's worst record and have the best shot at winning the draft lottery.
Injuries have piled up and New York will once again play with a short bench on Wednesday. Frank Ntilikina (groin), Allonzo Trier (calf), Kadeem Allen (concussion), Noah Vonleh (ankle), Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder), Mario Hezonja (illness) and Lance Thomas (personal) didn't play against Chicago on Tuesday.
Nonetheless, the Knicks still managed to defeat the Bulls 96-86 behind 25 points from guard Dennis Smith Jr.
The biggest development in recent games had been the play of Hezonja, who was a late scratch. Moved into a playmaker role due to point guard injuries, Hezonja is delivering some of his best performances this season. He's averaging 25 points and seven assists in three games this month.
Hezonja will become a free agent after the season and hopes the Knicks want him back.
"My second family is in this organization," he told the New York Post, adding he has "just wonderful relationships with everybody in the organization. The city embraced me. I just love playing here. We all know where I want to be."
Smith was acquired by the Knicks this winter in the blockbuster deal that shipped Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas. He's played some of his best games this season against Detroit. In three outings, he's averaging 25 points and 6.3 assists.
The Pistons have won the first three meetings with the Knicks by an average of 12.3 points. Griffin is averaging 28.3 points against New York this season.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 10, 2019