After being mired in their worst losing streak in nearly 16 years, the Detroit Pistons have suddenly won back-to-back games.
The Pistons look to make it three in a row Saturday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills when they open a home-and-home series against a New York Knicks team trying to avoid losing for the fourth time in five games.
Detroit (13-25) snapped a 13-game losing streak - its longest since the 1993-94 season - with Tuesday’s 99-90 win over a Washington team reeling from problems on and off the court. Detroit built on that win with Friday’s 110-104 overtime victory over New Orleans, a team in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
Detroit, which is five games back of Chicago for the final playoff spot in the East, has a chance to make up some ground in the standings with seven of its next eight at The Palace. The lone road game in that span comes Monday at Madison Square Garden.
The Pistons lost to the Knicks 104-87 at home on Dec. 29, as Richard Hamilton(notes) made his second consecutive start for Detroit after missing 26 of the previous 28 with injuries to his hamstring and ankle. He couldn’t find his touch against New York, finishing with 16 points on 5 of 21 shooting, but he helped lead the way Friday.
“Rip’s really starting to come back after the injuries,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “He’s a warrior, and how big was Ben Wallace tonight? It looks like he’s found the Fountain of Youth again - he was head-and-shoulders above guys on a lot of those rebounds.”
The strong performances from Hamilton and Wallace helped Detroit overcome injuries to Ben Gordon(notes) (groin), Tayshaun Prince(notes) (knee) and Will Bynum(notes) (ankle). The availability of those three for this game is uncertain.
The Knicks (16-23) arrive in Detroit after Friday’s 112-104 loss to Toronto, their third defeat in four games following a three-game winning streak. New York fell behind by as many as 28 points against the Raptors before trimming the deficit to eight early in the fourth quarter, but it was unable to complete the comeback.
“We could’ve done better,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We just didn’t do it for whatever reason. Seemed like we were a little bit tight for the first couple of quarters.”
Despite the loss, Al Harrington(notes) gave an encouraging performance, finishing with 31 points on 11 of 20 shooting. He had combined for 26 points on 7 of 20 shooting in his first two games back from a two-game absence (strained left calf).
The Knicks have won three of the last four meetings with Detroit.