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Knicks never led vs. tired Pistons

11/22/2003

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons have started to get away from last year's grind-it-out style, though they showed Friday night they can still win ugly.

Detroit shot just 39.7 percent but made 29 free throws and
played enough tough defense to pick up its fourth consecutive win,
94-85 over the slumping New York Knicks.

"We just didn't seem like we had any rhythm," coach Larry
Brown said. "Fortunately, we made some key stops and got to the
free throw line and hung on. I guess these are the games you've got
to be proud to win. I think we had tired legs and tired minds."

The Knicks played without forward Keith Van Horn, who missed his
second game with a sprained right ankle, and lost for the sixth
time in seven tries. They never led.

Chauncey Billups led the Pistons with 23 points, while Richard Hamilton added 21added and Ben Wallace had 10 points, nine rebounds and
nine blocks.

"We played the way we wanted to play," Billups said. "We
controlled the tempo and we were executing. We've just to learn
that when we have teams down, we have to be able to put them
away."

Kurt Thomas led New York with 16 points and nine rebounds before
fouling out with four minutes to play, while Shandon Anderson
scored 15 and Charlie Ward had 13.

"Kurt's a key part of our team, and with Keith out, we knew we
had to have him on the floor if we wanted to have a chance,"
Knicks coach Don Chaney said. "I would have played him all night,
even with a game tomorrow, if he hadn't fouled out."

Allan Houston, battling a sore back, scored just nine points
against his former team on 4-of-13 shooting.

"It's a dilemma," Chaney said. "If we sit Allan down, he
would probably heal, but with Keith out, we can't afford it right
now."

Detroit led 51-40 at the half, and the teams traded baskets for
the first five minutes of the third before the Knicks put together
an 10-0 run to narrow the margin to 66-62.

"They were determined and showed a lot of heart," Wallace
said. "But you can't beat the Pistons just with that. You have to
do something else."

Hamilton's three-point play in the final minute of the period
helped Detroit take a 74-66 lead into the fourth.

Billups' 3-pointer moved the margin to 79-69 early in the
fourth, and the Knicks never got closer than seven after that.

"We just couldn't make any shots," Houston said. "We played
fairly solid defense, but we never could make enough baskets in a
row to get any kind of run going."

Game Notes: Anderson replaced Van Horn in the starting lineup. ...
Okur, a native of Turkey, spent most of Thursday making sure his
friends and family were safe after the terrorist attacks in
Istanbul. ... Wallace and Thomas were given technical fouls for
separate fourth-quarter incidents. ... Pistons rookie Darko
Milicic, the second pick in the draft, missed his only field goal
attempt and has still not scored this season. ... Wallace has two
career triple-doubles and holds the team record for blocks, along
with Edgar Jones, with 10.