AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — After a terrible start to the season, the Detroit Pistons have worked their way back into the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Losses like this may keep them on the outside looking in.
Shane Larkin’s three-point play in the final minute of the second overtime helped the New York Knicks snap their eight-game losing streak with a 121-115 victory over the Pistons on Feb. 27 — Detroit’s latest ugly loss at the Palace to a team around the bottom of the standings.
The Pistons have lost at home to each of the league’s five worst teams: New York, Philadelphia, Minnesota, the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando.
“We’ve had a lot of these games,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “If you aren’t going to play defense and rebound, that’s going to happen.”
Larkin put the Knicks ahead by four with 28 seconds remaining, and they held on to win a game that Detroit appeared to have control of after two quarters. The Pistons led by 18 in the second and by 12 at the half but blew what looked to be an easy game against the team with the NBA’s worst record.
“The whole second half and overtime were terrible. That’s the second game in a row where our starters have come out for the second half and not been any good,” Van Gundy said. “We didn’t even try defensively, so it was easy for them to get back into the game.”
Detroit squandered a five-point lead in the final minute of regulation, allowing the Knicks to tie it at 95 it on a pull-up 3-pointer by Langston Galloway with 6.3 seconds remaining.
“I looked up at the clock, it was just running down,” Galloway said. “It’s only me, and I think there was two other defenders going down court, and I just pulled up.”
With the Pistons down 105-103 late in the first overtime, Detroit’s Greg Monroe scored while drawing a foul with 12 seconds left, but he missed the ensuing free throw.
Monroe and the Pistons would go on to miss several more crucial free throws in the second overtime. With Detroit down 119-114 with 8 seconds remaining, Jodie Meeks was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. Meeks, who had made 32 consecutive free throws to that point, missed two of three.
Andrea Bargnani scored 25 points for the Knicks. Lou Amundson added 17 points and 14 rebounds. New York won for the first time in 17 games without Carmelo Anthony (left knee surgery) this season. The Knicks were also without guard Jose Calderon, who was out with a sore left Achilles.
“No matter what happened the night before, they’re coming back with the right effort and playing with the right mindset,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. “That’s the only way you can win a game like tonight. As coaches we’re happy for our players more than anything, because they need some positive feedback from the effort they put in.”
Monroe had 28 points and 13 rebounds for Detroit, and Andre Drummond added 21 points and 15 rebounds.
(NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer)