Knicks look to hand Pistons 16th straight setback

Field Level Media

November 30, 2023 at 9:10 am.

The Detroit Pistons get their latest attempt to end a miserable run on Thursday when they face the New York Knicks, who will close out a four-game homestand.

Detroit, which will be playing the second leg of a back-to-back set, took its 15th consecutive loss on Wednesday, a 133-107 decision against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers. The skid is the longest in Pistons history within a single season.

“Even though we’re in this low hole, we still have belief,” Detroit forward Isaiah Stewart, who scored 12 points against the Lakers, said postgame. “We had one of the toughest practices (on Tuesday). We’re still staying together. The energy’s still good. So we just have to figure it out out there.”

Cade Cunningham put up a team-high 15 points for the Pistons, his sixth consecutive game scoring in double figures, though produced his lowest total of that stretch. Isaiah Livers chipped in 14 points off the bench, and rookie Ausar Thompson recorded 12 points.

Cunningham is averaging 22.8 points per game over the past six and a team-leading 21.8 for the season.

The Thursday game will be Detroit’s first meeting with New York on the campaign. The Knicks will aim to complete their homestand with a 3-1 mark after routing the Charlotte Hornets 115-91 on Tuesday in NBA in-season tournament competition.

The blowout of the Hornets served as a rebound after a 116-113 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, a game decided on Devin Booker’s 3-pointer in the final seconds.

The Tuesday win also advanced the Knicks through Eastern Conference Group B in the in-season tournament. New York will travel to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday in a quarterfinal matchup.

“It almost had an NCAA Tournament feel, like when you wait to see who’s being seeded,” New York guard Immanuel Quickley said in his postgame media availability, referring to New York awaiting its bracketing fate as determined by point differential. “Nobody’s ever been through this, so everybody’s just kind of on edge. It’s a little bit different feeling than playing a straight, 82-game season.”

The matchup with Detroit is a return to the traditional regular season for New York. So far this campaign, the Knicks boast the NBA’s best defense with a yield of 105.1 points per game.

Tuesday marked the seventh time in 2023-24 the Knicks held an opponent to fewer than 100 points.

Detroit ranks 27th in the league in scoring offense at 109.4 points per game, just behind 26th-ranked New York (110 ppg). No Piston other than Cunningham is averaging more than 13 points per game.

New York, meanwhile, has four scorers averaging better than 16 points per game. Quickley posted 23 points off the bench on Tuesday, improving his output to 16.3 points per game. RJ Barrett is averaging 19.2 and Julius Randle is registering a double-double average of 19.9 points and 10.2 rebounds a contest.

A run of consecutive games scoring at least 20 points ended at nine for Jalen Brunson on Tuesday. Despite finishing with just 12 points against Charlotte, his team-leading season average of 24.1 points per game slightly outpaces the career-best output of 24 points per game he registered a season ago.