The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
There might not be a better time to get into a groove than in a home matchup with the New York Knicks.
The new-look Pistons go for their seventh victory in 11 games Friday night against the league-worst Knicks, losers of eight straight.
With Tayshaun Prince playing for the first time and Reggie Jackson starting his second game since being acquired, the Pistons were still trying to get used to one another in Tuesday’s 102-93 home loss to surging Cleveland.
Prince, who played his first 10 1/2 seasons in Detroit before being dealt to Memphis in January 2013, had seven points in his first start since heading back to Auburn Hills in a deal with Boston.
“Got thrown into the fire there, playing 30 minutes, so hopefully this will get me ready for the back to back Friday and Saturday,” Prince told the team’s official website.
The new backcourt of Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has given the Pistons reason for optimism after they led by nine at halftime before the Cavaliers outscored them 49-31 over the final two quarters.
Jackson finished with 22 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, while Caldwell-Pope scored 21. Jackson has totaled 39 points since arriving in a trade from Oklahoma City and is averaging 20.1 points and 7.7 assists in 15 starts this season.
“We’re improving and we’ll continue to improve,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We’ve just got some things we’ve got to work on.”
Van Gundy would like to see his squad cut down on its 15 turnovers, improve its 18 of 30 free-throw shooting and tighten up defensively on the perimeter after allowing a season-high 14 3-pointers.
The Pistons (23-34) now look to ensure a winning five-game homestand as they try to move up in a pack of five teams separated by one game in the race for the East’s final playoff spot.
The Knicks (10-46), who have lost by an average of 14.0 points since last winning Feb. 1, have gone 5 for 40 from 3-point range in their last two games. They’ve also forced 17.3 turnovers per game over their last four, but have given up an average of 109.0 points and allowed opponents to shoot 41.7 percent from long distance in their last three.
“We have lineups on the floor that haven’t played together very much,” coach Derek Fisher said. “Some of it is who our guys are in terms of youth and understanding how to play defense.”
Andrea Bargnani had 17 points in Wednesday’s 115-94 loss at Boston.
New York has averaged a league-low 88.7 points on 41.0 percent shooting in 12 games since Jan. 24 and has scored 88.0 per game in two losses to the Pistons.
Detroit’s Andre Drummond has totaled 33 rebounds and Greg Monroe has pulled down 28 in the season series. The Pistons have outrebounded the Knicks 104-90, winning 98-95 in Detroit on Nov. 5 and 97-81 at New York on Jan. 2.
7:30 PM ET, February 27, 2015