PISTONS 115, KNICKS 108
DETROIT — There’s plenty of mediocrity in the Eastern Conference, and the Detroit Pistons are taking advantage.
Blake Griffin scored 30 points and Stanley Johnson added 21 to lift the Pistons to a 115-108 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday night.
Reggie Jackson contributed 21 points for Detroit. The Pistons held the Knicks to 40 percent shooting from the field and led throughout the final three quarters.
The Pistons (11-7) are off to a solid start under the new coach Dwane Casey. Nine of their victories — including Tuesday’s — have been against teams that currently have losing records, but they all count.
“We have to prove to our fans who we are and what we are, and make sure they are trusting to spend their hard-earned money,” Casey said after another night with a sparse home crowd. “I do know that if you’re a basketball fan, we do play a brand of basketball that is a winning brand. We’re not a finished product.”
Allonzo Trier scored 24 points for the Knicks, who had won a season-high three in a row.
The Knicks (7-15) took an early 13-5 lead, but Detroit was ahead by 24-19 at the end of the first quarter, and the Pistons never gave up the lead.
“I thought we came out great, and then we hit 17 points and everything just stalled for whatever reason,” Knicks Coach David Fizdale said.
The Knicks shot 15 of 50 in the first half and trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter. It was 51-43 at the half, and the Pistons stretched the lead to 18 in the fourth.
The Knicks had the deficit down to 7 when Johnson came leaping from behind to block Trier’s layup attempt with about 30 seconds to play in the game.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke of the Knicks and Detroit’s Glenn Robinson III were teammates on Michigan’s 2013 Final Four team. The three combined to shoot 6 of 24 from the field. Hardaway did have 19 points, and Burke scored 6. Robinson had a single point in 11 minutes 7 seconds of playing time.
“I wish he could have played more,” Hardaway said of Robinson. “It was great just to have him out there on the floor.”
Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks’ 7-foot-1 rookie, fouled out with 3:27 remaining in the third quarter after having only two fouls at halftime. Noah Vonleh of the Knicks fouled out with 2:29 to go in the fourth, and Mario Hezonja picked up his sixth foul in the final minute.
Detroit went 32 of 45 on free throws; the Knicks were 27 of 32.
“I thought tonight was at least pretty consistent,” Griffin said. “Both ends, there was a lot of fouls called.”