New York Knicks keep strengthening playoff position at Detroit Pistons expense with win, 114-104
By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK — Julius Randle capped his All-Star first half with 27 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, sending the New York Knicks into the break with a winning record after a 114-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.
RJ Barrett added 21 points to help the Knicks improve to 19-18 in their first season under Tom Thibodeau. They have missed the playoffs for seven straight years but finished the first half in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
Elfrid Payton had 20 points after missing the last four games with a sore right hamstring.
Wayne Ellington scored 17 points for the Pistons, who came nowhere near duplicating their play from a night earlier, when they routed Toronto 129-105.
Mason Plumlee, one of two Pistons with triple-doubles against Toronto, followed that with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
New York’s lead was 48-44 after Isaiah Stewart’s follow shot with 3:52 remaining in the half. The Knicks then ran off 11 straight points to open a 15-point cushion and took a 59-46 lead to the break.
The Knicks opened a 20-point lead before taking a 93-74 advantage to the fourth. Detroit cut it to 10 in the fourth and was about to get closer when it got the ball underneath to an open Plumlee, but Randle swooped in to block the shot and the Knicks found Barrett alone on the other end to make it 103-91.