Pistons pull out win vs. Knicks
DETROIT — For a good portion of the second half, the Detroit Pistons struggled to make any defensive stops. With the game on the line, Pistons guard Reggie Bullock made three pivotal plays to get his team a hard-fought victory.
Bullock had a steal, a block and a deflection on the last three defensive possessions and the Pistons pulled out a 104-101 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday at Little Caesars Arena.
Bullock stole a Ron Baker pass with the score tied, blocked a Courtney Lee layup with his team up by one and deflected a Lee pass on the Knicks’ last possession.
“Reggie’s a hell of a defender,” Pistons center Andre Drummond said. “He’s very, very gritty. He gets down and dirty.”
Tobias Harris led seven Detroit players in double figures with 24 points. Drummond had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons (18-14).
Bullock supplied 14 points, Stanley Johnson and Antony Tolliver tossed in 12 apiece and Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith added 10 apiece. Jackson, who also tied his season high with eight assists, made a free throw with 24.2 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner.
“At the end, Reggie made plays offensively and we had a lot of guys make plays defensively,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks (17-15) with 29 points and nine rebounds. Porzingis missed all 11 of his field-goal attempts in a 102-93 New York victory over Boston on Thursday. He shot 12 for 28 from the field on Friday.
“He’s 7-3, he can get shots off on anybody,” Van Gundy said. “We made maybe two or three mistakes but the rest was No. 1, him getting a lot of shots, and No. 2, being really, really good.”
Enes Kanter contributed 22 points and 16 rebounds and Courtney Lee added 16 points for the Knicks.
“It was all down-side. It was kind of that way all game, we couldn’t get downhill very much,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Jarrett (Jack) was able to do it some, but we only shot six free throws, so there wasn’t a lot of penetration. (We took) a lot of outside shots.”
The Knicks took their first lead of the game with an 18-2, third-quarter outburst. Porzingis had seven points during that span, including a dunk and 3-pointer that gave New York its first lead.
A Smith layup put the Pistons back on top in the opening minute of the fourth at 77-75. Harris’ 3-pointer a minute later made it 82-79.
The Pistons then maintained a single-digit lead until Drummond was called for goaltending on a Kanter put-back, which tied it at 93-all. A long two by Porzingis moved New York back in front.
Jackson’s runner in the lane evened the score again at 101 apiece.
Jackson made one of two free throws with 24.2 seconds left following a Knicks turnover. Bullock then blocked Lee’s shot and Johnson hit two free throws with 14.5 seconds left.
“The play was KP was going to hand it off to me and attack, try to get over to the rim,” Lee said. “They cut me off, I tried to step through. I thought it was contact, so I tried to lean in and shoot the ball. But they didn’t call the foul, so they were able to get the blocked shot on it.”
New York still had a chance to tie on its final possession. Lee couldn’t get a good look after Tolliver switched on him, and Bullock’s deflection led Porzingis to take a wild shot from near midcourt. It was an airball.
“The biggest key is just staying on the ground,” Tolliver said. “I was able to do that and he couldn’t get a good look and had to pass it. It got deflected and the rest is history.”
NOTES: Detroit SG Avery Bradley missed his fourth consecutive game with a groin injury. ... Knicks F Michael Beasley, who scored 32 points against Boston on Thursday, has played for six organizations. That’s surprising to Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. “He was the No. 2 pick in the draft,” he said. “It’s not like some guy who came out of the nowhere. It’s sort of amazing he’s had to bounce around the way that he has.” ... New York lost its last three road games against Detroit. ... The Knicks are 8-0 when holding opponents under 100 points. ... Pistons C Andre Drummond has 250 double-doubles since the 2012-13 season, the most among Eastern Conference players.