Both the New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons came into Tuesday night's match-up reeling something fierce. Each team had lost nine of its last ten games, though Detroit's struggles were of the forgivable rebuilding project variety and New York's were grounds for near-pandemonium from the fans. Anyway, one team's streak had to end, and the team that seemed less fit for a massive losing streak had the upper hand. The Knicks handled the Pistons pretty easily, leading from the outset and finishing with a 113-86 advantage.
New York benefited quite a bit from the return of Carmelo Anthony. Anthony, who had missed the last two games to rest his ankle and wrist injuries, tested his sore ankle before game time, deemed it playable, and proceeded to log his best game in weeks. Melo finally looked himself, draining isolation jumpers, whirling to the rim for easy finishes, and -- most importantly -- pinching the defense to create opportunities for his teammates. And for once, those teammates followed through. Landry Fields, in particular, awoke from a season-long downtown drought to sink four of six three-pointers, including three in the first quarter alone. His superb sniping was part of a 9-18 outside effort and 42-70 (60 percent) shooting overall -- only the second time the Knicks had cracked 50 percent in a game this season (the other being a similar win over the Bobcats). Tyson Chandler chipped in 17 points off inside finishes and free throws and Amar'e Stoudemire added 15 of his own.
The Pistons, still missing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva (what up free agent class of '09!), never looked particularly interested in competing, though they got decent contributions from a few of their young folks. Jonas Jerebko's team-leading 15 points came almost entirely in garbage time, but Greg Monroe's 13-point, 12-rebound performance was the real deal, and the Pistons got a few nice baskets from the penetration of Rodney Stuckey and Walker Russell Jr. off the bench. Detroit's loss was their second in consecutive nights, and they'll have little rest (albeit minimal travel) before visiting the Nets on Wednesday to complete a back-to-back-to-back run of games.