No mercy: Pistons pound short-handed Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) -- Larry Brown knows what the Pistons have, and he

knows what the Knicks were missing. So he wasn't surprised by what

he saw Thursday night.

Richard Hamilton scored 26 points, Rasheed Wallace added 23, and

Detroit beat undermanned and overmatched New York 105-79 for its

sixth straight victory.

With Antonio Davis suspended for going into the stands the night

before in Chicago and leading scorer Stephon Marbury still injured,

the Knicks trailed by as many as 30 points and matched their worst

loss of the season. They have dropped four in a row in a span of

five nights.

"It was like the JV against the varsity," said Brown, who

coached the Pistons the last two seasons. "I think they could've

beaten us by 50."

Marbury sprained his left shoulder in Monday's loss to

Minnesota, then Davis was ejected from Wednesday's overtime loss in

Chicago for entering the stands to confront a fan he thought was

harassing his wife.

Davis was suspended five games by the NBA on Thursday. With he

and Marbury out, the Knicks were forced to start three rookies for

the first time in 20 years against what many consider the NBA's

best starting five.

"They just did anything they wanted," Brown said. "Rip could

have had 100, actually. It hurts us not having Steph and Tony, but

then again they're at a whole different level than we are right


Tayshaun Prince scored 18 points for the Pistons, who have won

both meetings this season against Brown. He led Detroit to NBA

Finals appearances in both his seasons with the Pistons, including

the 2004 title.

This season's team looks better than either one Brown had. While

improving the best start in franchise history to 32-5, the Pistons

have won every game during their current winning streak by double


"Kind of how we've been for 37 games," coach Flip Saunders

said. "Different guys lead us over different parts of the game,

play unselfish. Thirty assists, eight turnovers, that's kind of

where we've been when we win games. I think how we played tonight

against New York is pretty much how this team has played through

the first half of this season."

Counting Wednesday's 117-89 victory at Atlanta, Detroit has won

road games on consecutive nights by a combined 54 points. The

Pistons didn't even need much from star guard Chauncey Billups, who

scored only two points on 1-of-7 shooting.

"It seemed like they could look at each other and not call a

play and know exactly what play they're running," Knicks rookie

Nate Robinson said. "They are so poised."

Eddy Curry scored 26 points for New York and Channing Frye had

15. New York last started three rookies on April 12, 1986: Gerald

Wilkins, Bob Thornton and Chris McNealy.

The Pistons needed a little more than 9 minutes to open their

first double-digit lead and were rarely challenged. They scored the

final seven points of the first quarter to take a 28-13 lead, and

they were still up 15 at halftime.

"When a team is short-handed, you can't allow them to hang

around and feed off their emotions," Pistons center Ben Wallace

said. "Knowing that they got guys out, guys want to come out and

play a little extra hard, try to pick it up. You can't afford to

let those type teams hang around too long."

Hamilton had 16 points at halftime, shooting 7-of-9. With

Wallace adding 15, the duo had two fewer points than New York after

24 minutes.

Prince scored 11 points in the third quarter, and the lead

ballooned to 74-59 when he hit consecutive 3-pointers late in the

period. The lead grew to 30 when Wallace and Maurice Evans nailed

back-to-back 3s midway through the fourth.

By then, the fans had already begun booing the Knicks, though

they cheered when Darko Milicic -- rarely used under Brown -- checked

in at the next timeout. Milicic got another big cheer when he

scored with 4:57 remaining and finished with six points in 6


Game notes
Ben Wallace blew a sure two points in the first quarter.

Alone on a breakaway after making a steal, he seemed stuck between

trying to dunk and laying the ball in and missed the shot. ... New

York also lost by 26 on Sunday at Toronto. ... With Detroit in

town, the Knicks celebrated "Retro Night" and had Motown

recording artists Martha Reeves and the Vandellas perform at