Detroit — Sometimes, it’s worthwhile to take a small victory, even in a big loss.
There haven’t been many lopsided losses for the Pistons this season, but against the New York Knicks, they suffered one of the anomalies.
The Knicks scored the first 14 points of the game and didn’t let off the gas the rest of the way, as they cruised past the Pistons, 125-81, on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena. It’s the last home game before the Pistons embark on a five-game western trip over the next seven days, with games at Oklahoma City, Denver, Sacramento, Portland and the Los Angeles Clippers.
The highlight was the return of rookie Killian Hayes, who has missed most of the season because of a torn hip labrum. He last played on Jan. 4 and after avoiding surgery and rehabbing, he played 20 minutes and logged five rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes.
Hayes looked to show no ill effects and played stints of nine minutes in the first half and 11 minutes bridging the third and fourth quarters. His passing was crisp, and his defense was good, as he continued to work his way back into playing shape.
The Pistons simply didn’t have much resistance after falling behind, 27-5, in the first seven minutes. Julius Randle dominated early, with 20 of his 29 points in the first quarter, along with seven rebounds.
Reggie Bullock (22 points, with six 3-pointers) scored on a leaning drive and Randle’s drive with 4.7 seconds left capped a dominating opening period, with a 40-15 Knicks lead. They continued the run into the second quarter, with a jumper and a dunk by Taj Gibson (11 points), for a 29-point margin.
The Pistons (14-35) trimmed the lead to 60-41 at halftime, but didn’t get much closer the rest of the way.
Jerami Grant finished with 16 points and four rebounds, Hamidou Diallo 14 points and Mason Plumlee nine points and 10 rebounds.
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