for this game

Knicks survive late run from Pistons

Apr 9, 2008 - 4:28 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - It was a rare night to enjoy for beleaguered New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas.

Thomas was honored as a member of the Detroit Pistons' 50th anniversary team in pregame ceremonies, then watched his Knicks barely hold on for 98-94 victory against the Pistons on Tuesday night.

Detroit trailed 90-67 with 8:42 remaining, but the Pistons went on a 27-6 run to cut the margin to 96-94 on a three-point play by rookie Rodney Stuckey with 33.7 seconds left. Mardy Collins secured the win for New York with jumper with 7.2 seconds to go.

"I was a little concerned, but it was good to see how the young guys would react in that situation," Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. "They're getting worlds of experience being out there with a big lead and having a team come back like that with the crowd getting into it."

"I'm very proud of the guys in that locker room," Thomas said. "We've had a very difficult year, and they haven't given up. We've faced some extreme difficulties, but they are going out there every night and playing hard."

The win snapped a 10-game losing streak in "Motown" for New York, which hadn't won at the Palace of Auburn Hills since March 27, 2002.

"It was ugly," said Detroit guard Chauncey Billups, who had 11 points. "It was (Isiah's) night, I guess."

Rookie Wilson Chandler, who grew up in Benton Harbor, Michigan, led the Knicks with 19 points and Crawford added 16.

"You look forward to coming home, but you try not to get too happy about it," Chandler said. "You try not to do too many things, nothing extra, just play like it's a regular game."

"We're just trying to play like it's the first game of the season," Chandler said about playing hard despite the teams dismal 22-56 record. "Just play hard and try to win."

However, with New York's record, a win against one of the NBA's top teams means a lot.

"We cherish every win at this point," Crawford said. "They've been hard to come by. We've put back-to-back wins together, so we want to see if we can end the season strong."

New York held the Pistons to 28 percent shooting in the first half en route to a 57-34 halftime advantage. New York used an impressive 17-1 run in the second quarter to go ahead by 25.

"We were moving the ball well," said Chandler, who had nine points in the run. "When we got double-teamed, we passed the ball. We were making the extra pass and getting shots."

The Knicks never trailed after a 9-0 run midway through the first, making it 17-9.

Detroit coach Flip Saunders felt that the pregame ceremony affected his team.

"There's no question it throws things off," Saunders said. "It was emotional before the game. I told our guys this is a great lesson because it shows you how important preparation and routine is before a game."

Detroit's starters, who sat out the second quarter, played most of the third, but still trailed 79-60 going into the final period.

Amir Johnson came off the bench to lead Detroit with 14 points.

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