Pistons earn rare win over Knicks

Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Rodney Stuckey's role and future with the Detroit Pistons looked bleak throughout the offseason.
New head coach Mo Cheeks doesn't have any doubts about the shooting guard's value after the first 10 games of the season.
Stuckey, the team's sixth man, had his best outing of the season Tuesday, lifting Detroit to a rare victory over the New York Knicks. He had a season-high 21 points and five assists as the Pistons snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Knicks with a 92-86 victory at The Palace.
Stuckey, a seventh-year guard, had a personal 12-point run bridging the third and fourth quarters, when the Pistons took control.
"He's so versatile with his ability to score and his ability to play with the ball and off the ball," Cheeks said. "He played a full game. He played an old-school kind of game where he had the mid-range game going. Nowadays, you see a lot of guys either shoot the 3 or go all the way to the rim. He can play the mid-range game, get to the rim or shoot a 3."
The Pistons spent the offseason accumulating guards through the draft, a blockbuster trade and free agent signings. However, Stuckey is thriving while playing for Cheeks, a premier point guard during the 1980s.
"He lets you do your own thing," Stuckey said. "He's free-minded. He doesn't ask for a lot, and he just let's you play."
Forward Josh Smith supplied 19 points and forward Greg Monroe added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost five of their previous six games. Center Andre Drummond notched his fifth straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in 13 points.
Detroit (4-6) shot 50 percent from the field and held New York to 43.4 percent shooting, an encouraging sign for the Pistons, who were ranked last in defensive field-goal percentage at 48.9 percent.
Forward Carmelo Anthony led New York (3-7) with 25 points, but he committed a season-high seven turnovers. The Knicks lost their third consecutive game.
"We got Carmelo a little frustrated," Drummond said. "We made him uncomfortable by all the switching and showing him different guys, kind of trying to bully him a little bit."
Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who was removed from the starting lineup, had 18 points. Smith was fined $25,000 by the NBA last week after he sent out an angry tweet to Detroit guard Brandon Jennings, who questioned why Smith's brother Chris, a rookie, was on the Knicks' roster.
Despite battling an illness, Jennings forced a Smith turnover midway through the third quarter with the Pistons clinging to a 55-54 lead. Anthony picked up a technical and his fourth foul during the next two minutes as Detroit reeled off seven unanswered points, including 3-pointers by Josh Smith and forward Kyle Singler.
Stuckey scored the Pistons' last seven points of the quarter as Detrpot took a 71-63 lead into the fourth. He stretched his personal streak to 12 with a baseline shot, a free throw and an elbow jumper before feeding Drummond for a dunk to make it 78-63.
J.R. Smith felt the Knicks' offense was too stagnant.
"We just have to get back to running," he said. "Last year, we were running and it was easier for everybody -- drive and kick so that guys can get open shots."
The Knicks hung around and closed the gap to 85-80 on an Anthony jumper, but New York couldn't get closer than four points.
"We still were in the game coming down the stretch. We just could not get offensive rebounds," New York coach Mike Woodson said. "We had the big lineup in, but three straight possessions, we gave up offensive putbacks."
New York used its fifth different lineup in 10 games, in part due to injury. Point guard Raymond Felton missed his first game this season because of lower-back and left-hip injuries. Felton, who averaged 11.1 points and 5.2 assists over the first nine games, is questionable to play against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
NOTES: New York F Metta World Peace, slowed by a sore left knee, did not make the trip because of a death in his family. It was the ninth anniversary of the Palace brawl when World Peace, then known as Ron Artest, infamously went into the stands. ... Detroit hasn't won a regular-season series against New York since 2005-06. The teams play twice more this season (Jan. 7 at New York, March 3 at Detroit). ... Pistons guards Chauncey Billups (knee tendinitis) and Will Bynum (sore left hamstring) were inactive for the second game in a row.

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