for this game

Hapless Knicks routed by Pistons, drop eighth straight

Nov 22, 2007 - 6:04 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Not even a return to the city where he had his biggest successes could help embattled New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas.

Chauncey Billups had a season-high 25 points and 15 assists and Antonio McDyess added 20 points as the Detroit Pistons sent Thomas and the Knicks to their eighth straight loss, 98-86, at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Wednesday night.

Richard Hamilton collected 12 points and eight assists for the Pistons, who ran out to a 13-point lead after the first quarter and never trailed again.

"Chauncey was great tonight," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "He was working on a 40-assist game there after the first quarter, he had 10 assists. He was unbelievable in everything he did. I thought he did some nice things defensively, got some nice steals, was really active."

A two-time NBA champion with the Pistons, Thomas responded to the poor opening quarter by benching all five Knicks starters at the outset of the second period. New York allowed Detroit to shoot 68 percent from the field in the first 12 minutes en route to the Pistons' 36-23 advantage.

"They looked like they didn't want to compete," Pistons guard Flip Murray said. "They were just out there. All you had to do was look at their body language I don't know what's going on over there, but they've got a lot of issues."

Thomas responded to the sluggish defensive effort by putting in reserves Nate Robinson, Fred Jones, David Lee, Jared Jeffries and Malik Rose.

"I think we are thinking too much out there," Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. "We need to just play and win a game."

But despite an initial boost, it did not put an end to the slide for New York, which has lost eight in a row - mostly in embarrassing fashion - since starting the season 2-1.

"We've lost all these games - eight in a row - and that's tough," Knicks forward Zach Randolph said. "We have to remember that we're a team, and we've got to stick together. That's the only way we can end this."

Most of the blame has fallen on Thomas, who endured a sold-out crowd at Madison Square chanting for his termination during Tuesday's loss to the Golden State Warriors.

"We've just got to win a basketball game some way, but we haven't given ourselves a chance since Sacramento," Thomas said.

It all comes on the heels of the coach's feud with star point guard Stephon Marbury, who skipped a practice and a game last week after Thomas informed him that he would be moved to the bench.

Marbury started in this one but was outplayed by Billups, who shot 7-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-6 from the arc. Marbury scored just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting in 28 minutes.

"We wanted to come out and get back on track, especially at home, against a team that had a game last night, we knew they'd probably be a little tired," Billups said. "They're a little beat-down, mentally, that team is. We wanted to come out and attack and be aggressive."

Detroit forward Rasheed Wallace sat out the second half with a sore left knee after netting eight points on 3-of-7 shooting in 15 minutes before halftime.

"Just normal basketball stuff, banging knees, nothing major," said Wallace, who might have an MRI in the next few days. "Over time it started bothering me. I tried to play through it, but it doesn't bother me too frequently."

Eddy Curry collected 26 points and just five rebounds for the Knicks.

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