National Basketball Association
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Tobias Harris played one of the best all-around games of his careerSaturday. As usual, the thing that stood out was his ability to steadily put up points.
Harris poured in a season-high 28 points to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 112-92 victory over the fading New York Knicks at The Palace.
The sixth-year power forward leads the team with a 16.4 scoring average despite not reaching the 30-point mark this season. He was just as efficient in other aspects of the game, compiling seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Coach Stan Van Gundy also praised his defensive effort against Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis.
The biggest thing that allowed the Pistons to control the game most of the way was Harris' 23 first-half points.
"Just playing off my teammates," he said. "The gameplan obviously was to get out, get stops, keep the ball running and get some easy plays. I was able to capitalize on that. I got some good looks and was able to make them."
Andre Drummond notched his 45th double-double with 24 points and 15 rebounds and Reggie Jackson contributed 19 points and eight assists for Detroit (33-33), which won four of its last five. Jon Leuer tossed in 11 points as the Pistons reached the .500 mark for the first time since mid-December.
"That means a lot," Harris said of shedding a losing record. "It's something that we've flirted with for some time now, getting (close) and then dropping back off. Now, it's time for us to keep it moving, push forward and really make this final push."
The schedule gets tougher for the Pistons, who have the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference, following a two-day break.
"We'll really be challenged now the rest of the way, just in terms of the volume of games," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We get into Cleveland (Tuesday) and play 11 games in 18 days. It's going to be extremely challenging, especially this late in the year."
Detroit's victory was fueled by its defense. The Pistons forced 18 turnovers, making 14 steals and leading to 26 points.
"For the most part, I thought we played well defensively," Van Gundy said. "They still shot a good percentage, especially from three, but we're getting much more active with our hands and putting more pressure on the ball and that's helping us."
Porzingis had 18 points, six blocks, six rebounds and four assists to lead the Knicks (26-40), who lost four of their last five. Willy Hernangomez contributed 14 points and nine rebounds, Courtney Lee and Carmelo Anthony added 13 points apiece and Chasson Randle chipped in 12 points for New York.
Anthony failed to reach the 20-point mark for the fifth consecutive game. He only attempted nine shots in 36 minutes. He's attempted fewer than 10 shots on three other occasions, but played 24 or fewer minutes those games.
"The problem is we were shooting a lot of jump shots," coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We weren't able to get to the basket and they had 50 points in the paint and (43) attempts at it."
The giveaways also played a big role in New York's demise.
"You can't turn the ball over on a team like that, the way they shoot the ball, the way that they run," said point guard Derrick Rose, who was held to 11 points. "Anyone in this league, you can't give them that many opportunities."
A Harris layup gave the Pistons a 75-60 lead early in the third. The Knicks responded with a 12-2 spurt, capped by a Porzingis 3-pointer, to pull within five. New York got as close as three but trailed 91-89 heading into the fourth.
The Knicks didn't have another run in them. Drummond's putback midway through the quarter made it 98-85 and the Pistons led by double digits the remainder of the game.
NOTES: Pistons PF Tobias Harris started in place of Jon Leuer for the second consecutive game after coming off the bench for 26 games. "The other night (against the Cleveland Cavaliers), it was a matchup thing," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We won the game, so that's why we came back to it tonight. Not a lot of in-depth analysis there." ... Detroit led after the first quarter for just the second time in nine games since the All-Star break. ... The Knicks won five of the last seven season series against the Pistons. They play once more March 27. ... New York has not won consecutive games since Dec. 20-22, when it recorded home victories over the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic. ... The Knicks have used 17 lineups this season. ... Detroit C Andre Drummond needs 20 points to reach 5,000 for his career.
Top Game Performances
Kristaps Porzingis 18
Tobias Harris 28
Courtney Lee 5
Reggie Jackson 8
Willy Hernangomez 9
Andre Drummond 15
Carmelo Anthony 2
||Free Throws Made
Andre Drummond 4
Willy Hernangomez 1
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 3
Kristaps Porzingis 6
Tobias Harris 2
Team Stats Summary
Detroit will play their next game on the road against Cleveland. The Pistons have a W/L % of .438 after a win and .559 after a loss.
New York will play their next game on the road against Brooklyn. The Knicks have a W/L % of .296 after a win and .462 after a loss.