Even healthy and happy, the Detroit Pistons have severe matchup problems with the New York Knicks. Place them under the kind of restrictions they faced Monday and the 99-85 loss they absorbed is a predictable result.
The Pistons played the second half without Andre Drummond because of his sore back, started a point guard in Jose Calderon who never had played or practiced with them before, and saw Jason Maxiell limited by two fouls in the first 2 1/2 minutes.
Add it up and you get a familiar outcome against the Knicks, who have won six in a row from the Pistons, by an average of 20.3 points, and took control early in the most recent laugher at Madison Square Garden.
"They can play multiple ways," Greg Monroe said. "Obviously, they have a superstar in 'Melo (Carmelo Anthony). Lead the league in 3-pointers. They can play traditional, they can play small, they can spread you out. So it's definitely a tough matchup."
The Knicks drained 14 3-pointers -- six in a first quarter which ended with them leading by 15 points -- and Anthony's 27 points, including 19 in the first half, and Tyson Chandler's 20 rebounds were centerpiece performances.
The Knicks have beaten the Pistons three times this year, twice here and once in London.
Each time, the Knicks have built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and led by at least 20 points during the second quarter.
"Every time we play New York, three times, they dominate the first quarter," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "We put ourselves in such a hole we start playing frustration basketball and mentally we don't stay as focused and engaged as we need to be. Then, second half, we play better basketball.
Detroit Pistons riddled again by Knicks
Michigan Live | Feb 5