Chris Duhon had 25 points and nine assists, Quentin Richardson scored 23 points, and the New York Knicks blew most of a 29-point lead before holding off the Pistons 104-92 to snap a three-game losing streak.
Wilson Chandler and Al Harrington hit key 3-pointers for the Knicks, who dropped the Pistons to 0-5 on Sundays. It seemed the victory would be easy after New York led by double digits for nearly all the first three quarters, but Detroit finally woke up in the fourth and got within five.
"We just needed to win. We lost a couple of games in a row," Duhon said. "We've just got to start feeling good about ourselves and understand that, again, it's a long season, it's a process. There's going to be bumps in the road but we've just got to fight through it and keep playing hard."
Playing hard is something the Pistons didn't feel they did until it was too late. Coach Michael Curry said he would contemplate lineup changes after his starters were down by double digits mere minutes into the game.
"Regardless of how well you play, one thing you can always do every night is play hard and there's no excuse for that," Pistons guard Allen Iverson said. "We get a lot of money to come out here and perform to the highest of our ability and there's no reason why you shouldn't come out and give that effort."
Harrington finished with 18 points and Chandler had 17 for the Knicks, who avoided their first four-game skid of the season. David Lee had 12 points and 19 rebounds as all but nine points came from New York's starters.
Tayshaun Prince had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who fell to 7-8 since Iverson's debut with the team. Iverson and Arron Afflalo each finished with 17 points for the Pistons, who are 11-3 on the other days of the week.
"I think we did a good job fighting back, but there's no excuse for getting down that much so early," Afflalo said. "It's not X's and O's, it's just purely effort and focus and understanding that this is the NBA. You have to compete."
Detroit played nearly the entire fourth quarter without Hamilton, who was thrown out of a game at Madison Square Garden for the third time in four years. He got a technical foul in the first half, then was called for another and ejected after appearing to give a little shove to Jared Jeffries after fouling him about a minute into the period.
The Pistons missed their first seven shots and were quickly down 10-0. The Knicks led 29-12 after one, their best defensive quarter of the season.
Duhon and Harrington made back-to-back 3-pointers as the lead ballooned to 58-29 with 3½ minutes remaining in the first half, and the Knicks took a 65-43 halftime lead.
It appeared reminiscent of their game here last Jan. 13, when the Pistons sleepwalked through an 89-65 loss, barely avoiding the worst offensive night in their history. This time they fought back in the second half, capitalizing on some sloppy play by the Knicks.
Detroit trailed 81-63, then opened the fourth quarter with an 11-1 spurt to get within eight, the first time the deficit was in single digits since the game's opening minutes. Afflalo's four-point play made it 89-82 with 6:12 remaining and Prince's bucket cut it to five.
The Pistons blew a chance to get closer with a poor possession, and Chandler's 3-pointer made it 94-86 with 3:38 to go. The lead was six when Harrington nailed his 3 to put it away at 99-90 with 1:21 remaining.
The good news for Detroit is it expects to have Antonio McDyess back with the team sometime early in the week. He is eligible to re-sign after waiting the mandatory 30 days following his trade to Denver in the deal for Iverson, but Curry said he wasn't sure whether the power forward would be at practice Monday.
"We don't know what to expect from him just yet, but obviously once he gets in game shape we know what he can bring to our team," Prince said. "But McDyess is not the answer. Our energy, our level of play is the answer, so if we think that McDyess is going to come in and save us, he's not. We've just got to continue to look at ourselves in the mirror and give each other our best effort and right now we're not giving it."
- The Knicks were without G Nate Robinson, who re-injured his strained groin in the loss to Atlanta on Friday.
- The Knicks won for the first time in six games versus Central Division teams.
- Hamilton was ejected from a March 17, 2006, game for firing the ball to the opposite end of the court after an offensive foul call, hitting the top of the shot clock. He was tossed again last March 7 after getting two techs for arguing a call late in the first half.