Pistons-Knicks Preview

The Associated Press

Things could be starting to turn for the last-place New York Knicks, who are eager to build on a successful road trip.

The reeling Detroit Pistons, meanwhile, are running out of answers.

Seeking back-to-back wins for the first time in four weeks, the Knicks try to hand the Pistons a season-worst fifth consecutive loss Tuesday night.

New York (11-22) returns home following a 2-1 trip to Texas, with its only loss a 102-100 defeat at Houston on Friday. The Knicks, who pulled out a 105-101 victory at San Antonio the previous night, also won 92-80 at Dallas in Sunday's finale.

"I thought this trip was very productive," Carmelo Anthony said. "We had a chance to go undefeated, but we'll take 2-1. Anytime you can win on the road like that, it's big time. These last couple games we have made some big strides and we just want to keep it up.

"It's funny the way things happen. Right now you can just see the way that guys are responding, playing. It seems like guys are having fun again, so we just want to build on that and see what happens."

Among the NBA leaders with 26.0 points per game, Anthony led five Knicks - three reserves - in double figures with 19 points. Kenyon Martin also came up big with a season-high 14 on 7-of-8 shooting after starting center Tyson Chandler left with an illness.

"I didn't even know if Kenyon was going to play," coach Mike Woodson said of Martin, who missed Friday's game due to an ankle injury. "We needed all of Kenyon tonight to carry this win."

Fellow reserves Amar'e Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to score 21.

"Our bench was fantastic, and we are going to need our bench to play like they played tonight," Woodson said.

New York's only set of back-to-back wins came Dec. 5-6.

The Pistons (14-20) have dropped four straight by an average of 19.0 points and six of seven overall. Detroit is coming off its most lopsided defeat of the season, 112-84 to Memphis on Sunday.

Andre Drummond had 15 points and 14 rebounds but Brandon Jennings, averaging a team-high 17.0 points, was held to four on 2-of-14 shooting.

"This is most definitely an emergency right now," said Jennings, who added 11 assists. "It is slipping away from us. You start questioning if everyone is willing to sacrifice and do the things that we need to win games."

The Pistons have been outscored 114-64 in the second half over the last two games, including 61-28 against the Grizzlies. Detroit is 4-13 when scoring less than 100 points.

''For some reason, we're just a first-half team," Jennings said. "We aren't coming out with the same energy in the second half, and we've got to find out why. This is ridiculous right now."

The Pistons had dropped seven straight and 11 of 12 to New York before winning 92-86 on Nov. 19. Rodney Stuckey scored 21 points and Josh Smith added 19 as Detroit shot 50.0 percent.

Stuckey, though, could miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury. Chandler's status also remains unclear.

Anthony, who scored 25 points against Detroit in November, is averaging 26.8 in his last four matchups in the series.

The Knicks, 4-12 at home, have dropped four straight there while managing 91.3 points per contest.

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