Pistons rout Knicks, move into tie for 7th
NEW YORK -- Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, Rasheed Wallace had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons rolled into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference by beating the New York Knicks 113-86 on Wednesday night.
Antonio McDyess added 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Pistons, who pulled even with Chicago for the No. 7 seed and lowered their magic number to one to clinch their eighth consecutive playoff berth. Detroit will be back in the postseason with its next victory or one more loss by Charlotte.
The seventh spot means avoiding a first-round matchup with Cleveland, which is on the verge of locking up the top seed in the East.
Tayshaun Prince scored 15 points and Rodney Stuckey finished with 14 for the Pistons in a game that was never competitive.
Detroit scored the first 10 points and led by double digits for the final 43-plus minutes. Detroit won its second straight following a three-game losing streak, still hoping it can find its form for the playoffs after a disappointing regular season.
Al Harrington scored 26 points and Wilson Chandler had 23 for New York (30-49), which lost for the 12th time in 14 games and will need to win its final three to avoid another 50-loss season.
Perhaps tired from a game in Chicago the previous night, the Knicks had no interest in defending, and their offense was largely terrible as well.
The Pistons scored the first 10 points of the game in just 2½ minutes, part of their 10-for-12 start from the field. They increased the lead to 30-9 on a 3-pointer by Wallace with 2:45 left in the first quarter and were up 37-20 heading to the second after Stuckey's jumper as time expired.
Detroit made 22 of its first 33 shots, opening a 29-point bulge late in the half after consecutive baskets by Prince. The Pistons led 63-39 at the break.
Hamilton scored 12 points in the third, when the Knicks never cut the deficit below 23 points, and the Pistons' lead ballooned into the 30s in the final quarter. Possibly because they're used to meaningless games in April, the New York fans hardly booed the Knicks.
Notes: Detroit evened the series at 2-all. The Knicks were trying to win the season series for first time since going 2-1 in 2000-01...Wallace was 4-for-4 for 10 points in the first quarter...With the Knicks getting blown out, coach Mike D'Antoni gave playing time to both his former NBA Development League players, Courtney Sims and Joe Crawford. When Crawford checked in, there were two Joe Crawfords on the floor; Joey Crawford was one of the officials working the game.
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