5 Things to Know: Knicks Return Home for Season Series Finale Against Pistons
1. On Saturday night in San Antonio, the Knicks fell behind by 20 points but managed to fight back and cut the deficit to just three in the fourth quarter. The Spurs eventually pulled away behind a 13-4 run late in the contest to secure the 106-98 victory in front of the home crowd. Kawhi Leonard registered 29 points as San Antonio evened the season series in the Knicks west coast trip finale.
2. Derrick Rose returned to the lineup on Saturday after missing Thursday’s game with a sore foot. New York’s point guard posted 24 points, five assists, and five rebounds in the defeat. Carmelo Anthony missed his second straight game with a sore knee and Lance Thomas was sidelined with a sore hip.
3. Willy Hernangomez earned the starting nod on Saturday and delivered a career performance against a formidable Spurs frontline. The Knicks rookie recorded his eighth double-double of the season, a career-high 24 points, and a team-high 13 boards. In the 24-point performance, Hernangomez hit 11-of-16 from the floor and is now averaging 11 points and 9.4 rebounds over his five outings.
4. Detroit is in desperate search of a victory while in the midst of a three-game slide and six losses in its last seven contests. Currently, the Pistons are a game behind the Heat for the coveted eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Detroit suffered a 115-87 defeat to the Magic, dropping its overall record to 34-39. Head coach Stan Van Gundy has altered his starting group by replacing Reggie Jackson with Ish Smith at the point guard spot over the Pistons last two games.
5. Detroit grabbed the 2-1 season series lead in the previous matchup by topping the Knicks 112-92 at The Palace. Tobias Harris scored 23 of his 28 points in the first half to lead the Pistons to the home victory. In the November 17 contest at MSG, Kristaps Porzingis exploded for a career-high 35 points in New York’s 105-102 win.
by Jonah Ballow