Carmelo Anthony was inactive with a sore knee and the Knicks were just 3-4 without him. But Greg Monroe did not dress either because of an ankle injury, so Detroit was without his 16 points and nine boards per game.
New York threw the ball all over the court in the early going, committing 11 turnovers in the first quarter to Detroit's two. But the Knicks still led 24-19 at the first buzzer, in large part due to a vast superiority in shooting percentage (61.5 to 36.4) and rebounding (15 to five).
New York had been committing the fewest turnovers per game in the NBA (11.9), but they surpassed that total early in the second quarter and finished the game with 20 turnovers. Detroit was ranked 24th in opponent's turnovers.
After stretching the lead to as many as 15 points in the second quarter, New York led by just six at the half. They ground to a halt in the third quarter, getting outscored 18-4 to start the second half.
But as Brandon Knight's hot-and-cold shooting warmed up, Raymond Felton counteracted him with a dozen points in the third quarter alone. Felton finished with a team-high 26 points.
J.R. Smith finally knocked down some shots in the fourth quarter, and the defense clamped down. New York allowed Detroit just 12 points in the final frame as they cruised to victory.
Jose Calderon added his name to the list of point guards who have torched the Knicks so far this season, scoring 10 points and tallying 16 assists. All Pistons starters scored in double-digits.
New York completed the sweep of the season series; this was Detroit's only game on their home court versus the Knicks since they were the home team for the London contest.
With the Pacers losing to the Boston Celtics, the Knicks moved back into second with their win.
The Pistons had been just 23-39, but to accentuate the positive, they were in 11th place.
Now, let's mail out the report cards!