AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The New York Knicks still have a long way to go if they want to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs.
This week, though, they’ve been headed in the right direction.
The Knicks rallied after halftime on the road for the second time in two nights Wednesday, beating the Detroit Pistons 116-111 in overtime.
“That’s two nights in a row that we’ve been able to turn up the screws a bit in the second half,” New York coach Mike D’Antoni said. “This one was against a really good team.”
The win gave the Knicks a 27-37 record, and while they are still in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, they are within 1 1/2 games of the last playoff spot.
“It looked like we had no hope, but now we have a little hope,” D’Antoni said. “We just have to keep up this intensity and keep playing this way.”
Nate Robinson had 30 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter and overtime. In Tuesday’s win over Milwaukee, the reserve scored 13 of his 32 points in the fourth.
“We’re just playing good team basketball,” Robinson said. “Coach always tells us that if we share the ball and compete as a team, the sky’s the limit.”
Antonio McDyess had 21 points and a career-high 22 rebounds—Detroit’s first 20-20 game in over 11 years, and his first since 2001. That, though, wasn’t enough to overcome the absence of Rasheed Wallace (calf) and Allen Iverson (back).
“It’s tough to come up short in a game like this,” McDyess said. “We just couldn’t hit enough shots down the stretch.”
David Lee had 16 points and 18 rebounds for the Knicks, who trailed 83-71 in the early seconds of the fourth.
“This was big,” Larry Hughes said. “We really dug down late in the fourth quarter and made it hard on them.”
The Knicks, though, narrowed the deficit to 93-92 before McDyess hit another shot with 3:40 to play. Robinson answered with a basket, and after both teams got a stop, Tayshaun Prince blocked Quentin Richardson’s layup attempt with 1:12 left.
Detroit extended the lead to three after another jumper by McDyess, but Hamilton fouled Hughes on a 3-point attempt with 10 seconds to go.
“Larry’s a smart basketball player, and he did a good job there,” D’Antoni said. “We didn’t want to hold the ball until the last second and let them set their defense.”
Hughes hit all three shots to tie the game at 101.
“I felt comfortable,” Hughes said. “Hitting three from the line in that situation is what we get paid to do.”
Detroit had a chance at a winning shot, but Rodney Stuckey’s pass bounced off McDyess’ hands under the basket.
“Stuck made a great pass and Dice just lost it out of bounds,” Detroit coach Michael Curry said. “I don’t know what happened on that play.”
Jason Maxiell missed a free throw that could have tied the game with 1:32 left in overtime, and Richardson answered with a jumper. Hughes’ fast-break layup gave the Knicks a 110-105 lead, and New York held on for the win.
Robinson, listed at 5-foot-9, won a third-quarter jump ball with 6-9 Amir Johnson. … McDyess has five career 20-20 games, but hadn’t had one since doing it three times during the 2000-2001 season. … No Piston had had a 20-20 game since the late Bison Dele on Dec. 5, 1997. … The Knicks only committed three turnovers in 53 minutes while forcing the Pistons into 15.