Knicks vs. Pistons 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
The Knicks escaped Washington with a narrow victory last night and improved to 3-4 while snapping a two-game slide. Carmelo Anthony dropped 37 points despite suffering a lower back injury late in the game. New York’s small forward said he expects to play tonight against Detroit to complete the back-to-back road trip. With Friday’s win, the Knicks moved to within 3.5 games of the Bulls and Heat for the top spot in the East.
The days of dominating in the Eastern Conference are long gone for the Pistons but a new direction from the sidelines could mark the start of a bright future for the franchise. Lawrence Frank was hired over the offseason and inherited a team that recorded a 30-52 overall record last season. Detroit drafted Brandon Knight, an extremely talented point guard out of Kentucky to team up with their 2010 first round draft pick Greg Monroe. The only remaining members of the championship squad are Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace as Richard Hamilton joined the Chicago Bulls in a reserve role. At 2-5, the Pistons have lost two straight games heading into the contest against the Knicks and will play their next three of five games on the road.
Last Time Out
Trailing by 15 points in the second quarter, the Knicks rallied to close the gap to just one-point heading into the locker room. Down the stretch in a close battle, Anthony drilled a 3-pointer to lift New York to a 99-96 road win in Washington.
Detroit failed to hit a 3-point attempt and only shot 36 percent from the floor in a 96-73 loss to the Sixers last night. Ben Gordon missed the contest due to personal reasons and Rodney Stuckey was sidelined with a sore groin, leaving the Pistons without two starters in their backcourt.
The Numbers Game
Last night, Anthony, Stoudemire, and Chandler combined for 72 points, 34 rebounds, and eight assists in the Knicks third victory of the season.
Match-up to Watch
Tyson Chandler vs. Greg Monroe
Monroe is a skilled big man with the ability to handle the rock and score around the rim. This season, Detroit’s second-year center is averaging 15.7 points and nine rebounds per game. He is also the highest ranked player on the Pistons roster in terms of the Player Efficiency Rating. On the Knicks side of the floor, Tyson Chandler was a beast on the glass last night with nine of his 15 boards on the offensive glass. Chandler was a major factor defensively and his length and size will help counter Monroe, which eliminates one of the Pistons top offensive threats.
What to Look For
Heading into the contest tonight, Detroit might be extremely shorthanded again after Gordon and Stuckey missed last night’s game. Frank could feature another young backcourt mix of Knight and Austin Daye on a team that ranks last in points per game. The Knicks hope Anthony and Bibby’s back issues are not a major concern as the squad searches for their first back-to-back set of victories this season. Head coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters after the victory over Washington that he has not decided whether to start Shumpert following his debut with the starters to begin the second half of Friday’s game.