Pistons narrowly miss lowest point total in team history

NEW YORK (AP) -- It was so ugly, Chauncey Billups had to do some heavy scrubbing to put it behind him.

At least when one of their worst nights ever was over, the Detroit Pistons finally could go home.

Zach Randolph had 25 points and eight rebounds, and the New York Knicks rolled to an 89-65 victory Sunday night over the weary Pistons, who barely avoided the worst offensive performance in franchise history.

"I just got off the shower, washed it off," Billups said. "I washed it right off on that shower. Got to forget about that one. That was bad."

With the Pistons playing the finale of a four-game, five-night road trip and coming off a 103-100 overtime victory in Charlotte on Saturday, the Knicks rolled to their most lopsided victory of the season, giving coach Isiah Thomas a rare easy night -- against his former team, no less.

"We knew they would be pretty tired and we tried to play with as much energy as we possibly could and I think we caught them on a good night," said Thomas, who led the Pistons to two NBA titles. "They were a little flat and we played a good basketball game."

Detroit needed a three-point play by Amir Johnson with 13 seconds left to avoid finishing with the lowest point total in franchise history. The Pistons shot 30.7 percent (23-of-75), matching the NBA low for field goals made in a game this season.

"They beat us bad," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We didn't really do anything. We gave an unacceptable effort and now we've got to bounce back."

Leading scorer Richard Hamilton was 1-of-7 and was held to a season-low three points. Tayshaun Prince missed all 10 shots and was scoreless, and Rasheed Wallace had six points on 3-of-9 shooting.

"We couldn't hit a shot and couldn't stop them from hitting shots and that's a deadly combination," Billups said. "I don't know if it was tired. I don't think it was any of that. We couldn't throw a rock in the ocean tonight."

Antonio McDyess had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Billups scored 14 points for Detroit.

Jamal Crawford scored all of his 15 points in the third quarter, when the Knicks turned it into a blowout. Their previous biggest victory was an 18-point win over Cleveland.

Randolph played only 10 minutes Friday in a loss to Toronto because Thomas thought he was having trouble with the Raptors' speed. That wasn't an issue Sunday, because the Pistons were the slow ones.

Playing without point guard Stephon Marbury, the Knicks snapped a two-game skid and won for just the second time in 11 games. Marbury was out with a sore left ankle, didn't watch from the bench with his teammates, and Thomas said he didn't know when he'd be back.

The Pistons have been held to 64 points on multiple occasions. They managed only 32 points in the first half, their worst half of the season, then the Knicks blew it open in the third quarter.

Crawford hit three straight 3-pointers midway through the period to extend a 14-point lead to 23, then converted a three-point play -- flipping the ball in over his head while drawing the foul -- to make it 64-38 with 3:31 remaining.

"We're always playing catch-up and that's tough to do," Crawford said. "Against a team like that, you play catch-up you're dead because of the pace and the tempo they play. So you just have to continue to try to put pressure on them. It helped that they played last night, but you try to run and get as easy baskets as possible."

The Pistons, who started their trip by splitting games at Dallas and San Antonio, didn't even hit 40 points until Billups made two free throws with 2:17 left in the third. The lead ballooned to 31 points early in the fourth quarter, with Detroit's entire starting five already on the bench for the night.

New York beat Detroit for only the third time in the last 12 meetings. The Pistons embarrassed the Knicks 98-86 on Nov. 21, with Pistons guard Flip Murray saying afterward that the Knicks "looked like they didn't want to compete."

The Knicks took control during a second-quarter stretch that featured some of the loudest cheers of the season at Madison Square Garden -- though they weren't for the Knicks.

A timeout coincided with the Dallas Cowboys' final drive in their 21-17 loss to the New York Giants, so the MSG staff played the football game on the overhead scoreboard -- with some fans even chanting "DEFENSE!" while watching.

Play resumed with Dallas facing fourth down, but the staff opted to keep showing the football game, even as Knicks center Eddy Curry was shooting free throws. With Nate Robinson motioning for the crowd to quiet down, Curry missed both shots -- though few fans seemed to care because they were too busy watching the Cowboys' drive, which ended with Giants cornerback R.W. McQuarters intercepting a pass in the end zone.

That all came during a 7-0 spurt that gave the Knicks a 33-23 lead. Robinson's three free throws with 0.4 seconds left made it 43-32 at the break.

Game notes
Given a do-over, Thomas said he would have chosen his words differently Saturday, when he responded to a question about the idea he could be fired by saying: "When that happens, we'll all know." Thomas said he didn't mean anything by saying "when." "Here in New York, every word is analyzed and I guess the word would be 'if' and not 'when,'" Thomas said. ... The Pistons' previous worst half was 33 points in the first half against Houston on Dec. 12.