Knicks coach Isiah Thomas got an ovation from the Palace crowd before the game, then had to watch his old team shoot 48.1 percent from the floor, including 11-of-22 on 3-pointers.
"It didn't have anything to do with bad defense," he said. "They have some shotmakers, and their shotmakers made shots. I'm proud of how our team played, but this is a tough building to win in, especially when they are clicking on all cylinders."
"We're just starting to come together and play as a team, and they've been doing it for a long time," Curry said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win, but in the end they just made too many shots."
Marbury and Francis combined for 23 points on 7-for-22 shooting as the Knicks lost their third in a row and sixth out of seven.
"They played great as a team -- it wasn't one guy, it was everyone," Francis said. "We were ready to play, but every time we made a run, they hit a shot."
The Knicks scored the game's first six points, but the Pistons had already gone ahead by the end of the first quarter and led by as many as 10 in the second.
New York rallied, but Billups' 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left gave the Pistons a 56-49 advantage at halftime. The Knicks had 30 points in the paint to just 12 for Detroit and outrebounded the Pistons 24-16, but the Pistons' seven 3-pointers kept them ahead.
The game stayed close until the Pistons put together a run late in the third. Hamilton started it with back-to-back jumpers, and Prince's 8-footer made it 78-64.
Rookie Renaldo Balkman's tip-in at the buzzer pulled the Knicks within 84-71, and they held the Pistons scoreless for the first 5:29 of the fourth. However, New York only managed eight points of its own in the stretch, and Prince put away the game with 11 points in the next 4 minutes.
"Tay bailed us out when we were struggling to score in the fourth," Saunders said.
Wallace picked up a technical foul for arguing a call late in the third period. ... Hamilton and Curry both limped off the floor after a third-quarter collision, but Curry stayed in the game after the ensuing timeout and Hamilton returned shortly thereafter. ... Detroit's Dale Davis missed the game while dealing with legal issues stemming from an offseason arrest in Miami, but is expected to play Sunday in Charlotte. Davis was acquitted Friday on assault charges stemming from an altercation with police.