Knicks hold off Pistons for rare two-game win streak

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NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks overcame a late-game surge by the Detroit Pistons, hanging on for an 89-85 win Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The win was just the second time this season that the Knicks claimed two in a row. New York (12-22) defeated the Dallas Mavericks 92-80 on Sunday. The last time New York won two straight was Dec. 5-6 against Brooklyn and Orlando.

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 34 points.

Detroit center Andre Drummond and forward Josh Smith each had a double-double. Drummond scored 12 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for his third straight double-double and fifth in his last six games. Smith added 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Detroit dropped its fifth straight game, failing to score at least 100 points for the 18th time this season.

After being down by as many 17 points in the third quarter, Detroit clawed back in the fourth. The Pistons got to within three points at 83-80 with 3:20 left on a wide-open 3-pointer from forward Kyle Singler from the right corner.

Detroit had a chance to tie it, but forward Charlie Villanueva hit only one of two free throws with 46 seconds left and the Pistons trailed 86-85.

Anthony made two free throws with 2.9 seconds to account for the final score.

New York attempted only 12 shots from the field in the fourth quarter, making five. Smith led the Pistons' comeback in the fourth quarter with seven points.

But with the Knicks leading 86-85, Smith air-balled a 17-foot jump shot with nine seconds to play that could have given Detroit the lead.

"I am still beating myself up because I could have been more aggressive and put in on the referees to make a call," Smith said. "That shot will be with me until the next game."

The Knicks committed eight of their 13 turnovers in the see-saw fourth quarter.

"We got stale and stagnant and looked very lethargic coming down the stretch, but I'm happy we came away with the win," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "You win a few close games and you remember how you win. I always said there is a fine line in close games between winning and losing."

With the score tied at 49 in the third quarter, the Knicks used a 22-5 blitz to move comfortably ahead at 71-54 with 1:18 left in the quarter. Anthony poured in 13 points in the run, including three of his six 3-pointers.

The injury bug continued to plague the Knicks. Center Tyson Chandler was out with an upper-respiratory infection and point guard Pablo Prigioni missed his 10th game with a hairline fracture to his toe.

New York used its 14th different starting lineup this season, moving Andrea Bargnani from his usual power forward slot to center. Kenyon Martin started his fourth game of the season at power forward, contributing six points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Knicks, who are thin at the point guard, got a boost in Raymond Felton's return after missing the last six games with a strained groin. He contributed 12 points and six assists in 31 minutes.

Felton's backups, Beno Udrih and Toure' Murry, combined for two points in just over 12 minutes.

"I thought he (Felton) was very fatigued coming down the stretch, but Beno (Udrih) couldn't go," Woodson said. "His knee was bothering him. I didn't feel comfortable putting him Toure' (Murry) in that position, playing in crunch time.

"We just have to live with this and get Raymond (Felton) in game shape and go from there."

Detroit used a strong second quarter to tie it 41-41 at the half, with Singler and guard Will Bynum coming off the bench to score six points apiece. New York made just six of its 25 shots from the floor in the quarter.

"We had a good effort," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We were able to fight back. We just didn't make shots at the end."

The Knicks led 24-21 after the first behind nine points from Bargnani and seven from Anthony. Detroit never led in the quarter and trailed by as many as eight points, 16-8.

NOTES: The Knicks are 6-1 when they hold opponents below 90 points. ... Pistons F Andre Drummond is second in the NBA in field goal percentage (61.2 percent). ... Knicks G Tim Hardaway Jr. is fourth among rookies in scoring (8.7 points-per-game), and second in field goal percentage (46.4 percent) and 3-point field goal percentage (41.9 percent). ... New York's 12.5 turnovers per game is the lowest in the NBA. ... Since being assigned to the Developmental League on Dec. 26, Pistons G Peyton Siva is averaging 25.5 points, 6.5 assists and five steals. ... Pistons G Rodney Stuckey missed his third straight game with a sore shoulder.

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