By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Pistons | The Palace of Auburn Hills
When: Monday | 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York (21-39): After a defeat yesterday in Chicago, the Knicks will have a chance to move on quickly tonight in Detroit. The Bulls' defensive cohesion won out over the Knicks' offensive talent as New York scored 90 points, seven fewer than its season average. Tom Thibodeau's squad held Carmelo Anthony to 21 points, also seven fewer than his season average and the total amount produced by the other four starters combined. Three players came off the bench to score in double figures (J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Amar'e Stoudemire), but after outscoring the Bulls by 10 in the 2nd quarter, the Knicks just weren't able to put it all together.
Detroit (23-36): The Pistons expected to contend for a playoff spot this year, but things have not worked out that way. A slow start to the season cost coach Mo Cheeks his job before he could even get to the All-Star break things haven't gotten much better since John Loyer took over. The two key offseason additions, Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, rank 9th and 11th in true shooting percentage on the team, respectively, and haven't done much to help the team's 17th ranking in offensive efficiency. Detroit has lost seven of its last eight games.
The Numbers Game
The Knicks averaged 99.1 points per game before the All-Star break. In the eight games since then, they've produced 109.8 points per game despite a record of 1-7.
Matchup to Watch
Iman Shumpert vs. Kyle Singler
Shumpert returned yesterday after missing four games with a knee sprain. He shot 1-for-6 from the field and Coach Mike Woodson opted to start Smith in his place in the second half. Shump has started all 53 games in which he's played this year, while Singler, the second-year player from Duke has emerged as a bright spot for the Pistons since joining the starting lineup 12 games ago. In that time, he's provided exactly what Detroit needed from its shooting guard, connecting on over 50 percent of his three-pointers and playing smart basketball. That last part is crucial on a team with two high-volume, low-efficiency guys like Jennings and Smith.
What to Look For
Both teams should come into tonight hungry to get back into the win column. The universal sentiment in the Knicks locker room is the need to play with a sense of urgency, and you'd have to imagine the same holds true in Detroit... The Pistons are "big," so Woodson could opt to shuffle his lineup to combat the size presented by the front line of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. They rank first in the league in offensive rebounding rate, but are one of the worst in the league in defensive rebounding, which could be an area to watch as Tyson Chandler continues his assault on the glass (averaging 15.3 rebounds per game over the last seven games).