DETROIT – The spirit of the Knicks was absent at Motown and looked like a team that's been on the road for too long this month.
The Knicks, who were playing their eighth tournament in 11 games on the road, looked gloomy and saw their winning streak win three games crushed by the more physical and loaded Pistons on Friday at 115-108 at Little Caesars Arena.
The night started badly with a long bus ride that brought the club 30 minutes late. And it got worse. The tired shooting legs were obvious as the Knicks ended the night with 39% of the shots.
David Fizdale's club finished nine of its 12 games on the road Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The Knicks (7-15) were assaulted by the violent shots of their two Michigan veterans, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke, who combined to shoot 6 of 23 – 3 of 16 in the first half.
Hardaway Jr. and Burke played one hour away from the Wolverines football team on Saturday at Ohio State.
Hardaway fired 5 times out of 15 with his father, Tim. The former Hardaway was fired by the Pistons after replacing Stan Van Gundy as coach by Dwane Casey.
Casey said before the match that he was "not surprised [the Knicks] beat Boston, Memphis, New Orleans – how much they play and how relentless they are on the charts. "
This was not the case on Tuesday. The sleeping Knicks fired 7 out of 29 in the first quarter, losing a 15-9 lead. In front of an empty three-quarters arena, the Knicks and Pistons were slow at first. Detroit shot only 3 of 11 before taking a 24-19 lead after the first quarter.
The Pistons (11-8) extended their lead to 46-30 midway through the second quarter after Reggie Jackson's 3 pointer. Jackson, a free agent in 2020, had 17 points in the first period with the Pistons leading 51-43.
Blake Griffin led the Pistons with 30 points.
Both Knicks' rookie picks suffered terrible nights – perhaps because they were not used to the road. Center Mitchell Robinson was the victim of a second foul in three games – this time in 17 minutes. Friday against New Orleans, Robinson spent nine minutes on the field.
Rookie coach Kevin Knox also continued his lead, scoring four points and making 1 of 7 shots. He was far from most of his attempts. Unprepared rookie Allonzo Trier warmed up in bins to finish with 22.
For his part, Damyean Dotson, who has played four consecutive games, scored 17 points on 6 shots on 8 in 24 minutes on the bench. He arrived with 35 seconds in the half, played six seconds and was shot. But Dotson came in almost immediately in the second half, replacing Noah Vonleh with 11:09 to go in third. Dotson scored his three throws for eight points in the third quarter.
Before the match, Fizdale had been careful not to get the most out of the three-game winning streak and start talking about the playoffs like some of his young veterans.
"You're just trying not to be seduced by our success," Fizdale said during the morning shoot. "I do not want our team to focus as much on the end result as on what we did to get it. I know it's nerdy, but my cliché is to cut the tree. We do not pay attention to the fall of the tree. "
The Knicks fell on Tuesday. Difficult.