DETROIT (AP) — Julius Randle scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half and the New York Knicks moved above .500 with a 109-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
At 18-17, the Knicks have the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference and have won seven of their last nine games. They had an easy time with the last-place Pistons, taking an 11-point lead into halftime and extending that to 24 in the second half.
“I think the first unit is really finding some chemistry together and I think they’re reading the game well," New York coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Offensively, when we share the ball, we’re hard to guard.”
This is the first time the Knicks have been above .500 this far into the season since they were 54-28 at the end of 2012-13, according to SportRadar.
“Honestly, in our locker room, it’s expected,” Randle said. "I’m not really surprised where we’re at as a team.”
Derrick Rose scored 14 points, less than a month after he was traded from the Pistons to the Knicks. Dennis Smith Jr., who went to Detroit in that deal, started and scored seven.
Jerami Grant scored 21 points for the Pistons. They shot just 38% from the field and went 9 of 32 from 3-point range. Detroit has lost six of seven, and Wayne Ellington said the week-long break coming up will be welcome.
“It’s been a rough season. We’ve been through it physically, mentally," Ellington said. "The break is always great, especially for a young team.”
RJ Barrett scored 21 points for the Knicks, and Alec Burks added 16.
Knicks: Taj Gibson (left ankle sprain), Elfrid Payton (right sore hamstring) and Mitchell Robinson (right hand surgery) were out. … New York shot 51% from the field and 13 of 26 from beyond the arc.
Pistons: Detroit has been holding Blake Griffin out while trying to resolve his future. Delon Wright (right adductor strain) also missed Sunday's game. … The Pistons avoided their lowest point total of the season, which was 86 against Utah on Jan. 10. … Coach Dwane Casey said grant has a bit of an issue with his calf, but it is not expected to be serious.
Svi Mykhailiuk started for just the second time this season and went scoreless for Detroit. Casey said he wanted to help Ellington.
“Let Wayne breathe a little bit," Casey said. "Wayne’s been struggling a little bit.”
Ellington scored 15 points in a reserve role.
Knicks: At San Antonio on Tuesday night. The Spurs swept two meetings with the Knicks last season.
Pistons: Vs. Toronto in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday night. Detroit went 0-3 against the Raptors in 2019-20.
By NOAH TRISTER AP Sports Writer
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