Knicks knock off Pistons

April 8, 2008 7:51:39 PM PDT
Wilson Chandler scored all of his 19 points in the first half, and the New York Knicks built a huge lead and beat the Detroit Pistons 98-94 on Tuesday night in a game that didn't mean much for either team.With a week left in the regular season, the lottery-bound Knicks have as many wins (22) as the Eastern Conference's second-seeded team has losses.

The night was meaningful, however, for Isiah Thomas, because New York's embattled coach was part of a pregame ceremony that honored the Pistons' all-time team.

The Hall of Fame point guard received one of the loudest ovations in the only NBA arena where he's beloved.

Many expect Thomas to be fired after the season by Donnie Walsh, who the Knicks hired last week to replace Thomas as their president of basketball operations.

But for a few hours, Thomas had an enjoyable diversion.

He flashed an ear-to-ear grin when The Palace crowd roared after his name was announced before the game along with other members of the Bad Boys, current players such as Chauncey Billups and older greats like Dave Bing.

Then, Thomas' team kept him in a good mood.

Chandler scored nine points in the first quarter as New York built a double-digit cushion and led 28-16 heading into the second.

Against an uninspired team, the Knicks led 57-34 at halftime and 79-60 after three quarters.

Detroit's reserves put together a comeback, pulling within two points in the final minute before Mardy Collins' jumper sealed the win with 7 seconds left.

Billups and Tayshaun Prince each scored 11 points for the Pistons, who had won five straight.

Jamal Crawford scored 16 for New York, which has won two straight after losing 10 of 11 games.