It’s hard to believe the Detroit Pistons were mired in a 13-game losing streak less than a week ago the way they’ve played in their last three contests.
The Pistons will try to win their fourth straight and complete a home-and-home sweep of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
Detroit (14-25) ended its lengthy skid with a 99-90 win at Washington on Tuesday before returning home to beat New Orleans and New York (16-24). The Pistons have led at halftime in all three wins, building a 51-37 advantage in Saturday’s 94-90 victory over the Knicks.
“We’re playing harder, playing as a team, sharing the ball,” Detroit guard Rodney Stuckey(notes) said. “That’s pretty much it. I think that if we came out and share the ball, and help each other on defense we give ourselves a chance to win a basketball game.”
Stuckey scored 20 points and Charlie Villanueva(notes) 19 against New York. Stuckey needed treatment for flulike symptoms and dehydration after he scored eight points in overtime in Friday’s win over the Hornets, spending a long night in the hospital.
New York cut a 17-point deficit entering the fourth quarter down to two, but was unable to complete the comeback in its fourth loss in five games.
“We had a lack of energy, a lack of focus and a lack of urgency,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We picked it up, obviously, at the start of the fourth quarter but it was too late. I don’t think we came out with any kind of desire to win.”
Detroit avenged a 104-87 home loss to New York on Dec. 29, but hasn’t been able to slow down David Lee(notes). The Knicks leading scorer is averaging 28.0 points and 14.5 rebounds against the Pistons this season, and has five double-doubles in his last six meetings.
“With twelve minutes to go and guys out there that can shoot the ball like Nate Robinson or Danilo Gallinari, that’s not really a big lead,” Atkins said.
Gordon, a Mount Vernon, New York native, hit a game-winning shot in his first game at MSG as a pro on Martin Luther King Jr. Day five years ago for the Bulls in an 88-86 victory. The first-year Pistons guard, though, has missed three straight games with a strained right groin.