“We have to prove to our fans who we are and what we are, and make sure they are trusting to spend their hard-earned money,” Casey said after another game in front of a sparse crowd in Detroit. “I do know that if you’re a basketball fan, we do play a brand of basketball that is a winning brand. We’re not a finished product.”
Allonzo Trier scored 24 points for the Knicks, who had won a season-high three in a row.
The Knicks (7-15) took an early 13-5 lead, but Detroit was up 24-19 at the end of the first quarter, and the Pistons never relinquished the lead.
“I thought we came out great, and then we hit 17 points and everything just stalled for whatever reason,” New York coach David Fizdale said.
New York shot 15 of 50 in the first half and trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter. It was 51-43 at the half, and the Pistons stretched the lead back as high as 18 in the fourth.
The Knicks had the deficit down to seven when Johnson came leaping from behind to block Trier’s layup attempt with about 30 seconds to play in the game.
Detroit’s wins this season have come against Brooklyn, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland (twice), Orlando, Atlanta, Toronto, Houston, Phoenix and New York. The Pistons are in a tight race with Indiana for the fourth-best record in the East.
New York’s Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke and Detroit’s Glenn Robinson III were teammates on Michigan’s 2013 Final Four team. It wasn’t a great night for that trio, which combined to shoot 6 of 24 from the field.
Hardaway did have 19 points and Burke scored six. Robinson had one point in 11:07 of playing time.
“I wish he could have played more,” Hardaway said. “It was great just to have him out there on the floor.”
Mitchell Robinson, New York’s 7-foot-1 rookie, fouled out with 3:27 remaining in the third quarter after having only two fouls at halftime. Noah Vonleh of the Knicks also fouled out with 2:29 to go in the fourth, and Mario Hezonja picked up his sixth foul in the final minute.
Detroit went 32 of 45 on free throws and New York was 27 of 32.
“I thought tonight was at least pretty consistent,” Griffin said. “Both ends, there was a lot of fouls called.”
Knicks: New York was without F-C Kristaps Porzingis (left knee), G Courtney Lee (neck) and F Lance Thomas (left knee). … Damyean Dotson, who didn’t play at all in the previous four games, played only a few seconds in the first half Tuesday. Then he came out and scored 17 points in the second.
Pistons: Detroit was missing G Luke Kennard (right shoulder).
Knicks: At Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Pistons: Host Chicago on Friday night.
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