for this game

Randolph comes up big as Knicks rout reeling Pistons

Jan 14, 2008 - 3:56 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- After cheering for the New York Giants, fans at Madison Square Garden actually had reasons to applaud the New York Knicks.

Zach Randolph rebounded from his benching and scored 25 points as the Knicks snapped a five-game losing streak with an 89-65 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Jamal Crawford added 15 points for New York, which played without point guard Stephon Marbury due to a sore left ankle and also won a home game for the first time since beating Cleveland on December 18.

The Knicks also shot 47 percent (34-of-72) and won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

"It's always good to win," New York coach Isiah Thomas said. "For us to win by such a large margin it was a good night for us. It was a good feel-good game for us."

Thomas had a lot to feel good about. He did not hear the usual "Fire Isiah" chants, and saw his team collect 21 assists and make just seven turnovers.

The start of the game coincided with the second half of the Giants' 21-17 NFC divisional playoff win in Dallas. Before the opening tip, the contest was shown on the scoreboard and, during a second-quarter timeout, the final plays of the contest were shown as players from both teams watched.

The crowd cheered wildly for the Giants and then were able to halt its usual jeers for the Knicks, who improved to 10-26.

The final moments of the Giants victory came as Eddy Curry missed two free throws but those were among few lowlights for New York.

"We're happy we won," Curry said. "But it's one of those wins that makes you think if we play like this all the time, we'd be in a great situation right now."

The Knicks allowed fewer than 70 points for the first time since holding Utah to 62 on November 14, 2005. It also was the fewest points scored by a visiting team at Madison Square Garden since the Nets mustered 65 on March 19, 2004.

Randolph turned in one of his better showings just one game after being benched for the final 31-plus minutes of Friday's 99-90 loss to Toronto. He made 11-of-18 shots, grabbed eight rebounds and scored at least 25 points for the first time since December 17.

"He passed out of the double team," Thomas said. "He passed with honest effort. He made honest plays tonight and I thought defensively, he guarded and he rebounded. He was a great teammate tonight. He's a great player but what we have to do is learn how to win and not just be good basketball players."

"I just wanted to move the ball well," Randolph said. "I have played out of the double team for three or four years. I know how to play out of it. Like coach says, we all have to trust each other and get the ball moving."

The Knicks took a 43-32 lead into the break and were up 59-36 after Crawford hit his third straight 3-pointer with 6:14 remaining.

"We didn't start out in a hole in the first quarter because we're always playing catch up and that's tough to do," Crawford said. "Against a team like that if you play catch up, you're dead because of the pace and tempo that they play."

That was one shy of New York's biggest lead of the season, but the Knicks reached that point when Fred Jones stole a behind-the-back pass from Chauncey Billups and fed it to Crawford, who converted a three-point play for a 64-38 advantage with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

David Lee's dunk with 30 seconds left put the Knicks ahead 71-42 through three. The third-quarter performance actually led some fans to give the Knicks a standing ovation.

The Pistons lost for the third time in five games following an 11-game winning streak. They had their worst first half of the season, shot 31 percent (23-of-75) and never led in the final 37 minutes.

"There's not much to say," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We just couldn't make shots, didn't have energy. From our standpoint, we just didn't have the effort that we had for whatever played, 36, 37 games."

Former Knick Antonio McDyess scored 15 points and Billups added 13 but Detroit's starting five was a combined 15-of-45 from the floor. Tayshaun Prince was 0-of-10, Rasheed Wallace was 3-of-9 and Richard Hamilton was 1-of-7.

"We couldn't make a shot and we couldn't stop them from hitting a shot," Billups said. "That is a deadly combination. We just couldn't throw a rock in the ocean tonight."

"New York did a great job of really just sagging it in," Prince added. "They said if Detroit is going to beat us tonight, they're going to beat us shooting jump shots."

By the time the fourth began, none of the starters were on the court for Detroit, which played overtime Saturday night in Charlotte.

The Pistons just missed setting a franchise record for fewest points scored. Only a three-point play by Amir Johnson with 13 seconds left ensured that Detroit did not break the mark of 64 points against Utah on March 13, 2005.

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