AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) Anthony Tolliver and Reggie Jackson made a trio of big 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter, and the Detroit Pistons avoided a colossal collapse, beating the New York Knicks 111-105 on Thursday night.
The Knicks rallied from a 27-point second-quarter deficit, taking a 97-95 lead on a layup by Robin Lopez. Tolliver’s 3-pointer put the Pistons back ahead, and Jackson added another to make it 101-97.
After a dunk by Lopez cut the margin back to two, Jackson added another 3-pointer, and the Pistons were able to hold on.
Lopez had 26 points and 16 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points for New York, which lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Johnson, Detroit’s first-round draft pick last year, made his second start of the season because Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was out with a core muscle strain. He is out at least until the All-Star break.
The Knicks started the game 1 of 10 from the field and trailed 12-2 – with Detroit’s first 12 points all coming from 3-point range. The Pistons led by 12 after one and began the second quarter with a 21-6 run, taking a 48-21 lead on a dunk by Aron Baynes.
New York’s terrible half came to a fitting conclusion after Anthony made a free throw with 4 seconds left. The Knicks let Brandon Jennings get free behind the defense for a long pass, and his layup made it 60-36.
New York outscored the Pistons 35-18 in the third. Arron Afflalo finished with 24 points for the Knicks, who looked poised to come away with a remarkable victory before Tolliver’s shot turned the game back in Detroit’s favor.
While on the bench, the Pistons wore red shirts that said “FLINTNOW” as part of a relief effort launched by owner Tom Gores. A Flint native, Gores has pledged to raise $10 million to address the water crisis there.
The team announced earlier this week that players and executives will commit $500,000 to the effort. Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Antonio Smith – three former Michigan State players who are from Flint – took part in the ceremonial game ball presentation before the game.
Knicks: Rookie Kristaps Porzingis scored only five points on 2-of-9 shooting.
Pistons: Caldwell-Pope’s consecutive games streak – the second-longest active one in the league – ended at 208. … Drummond landed hard after being fouled by Lance Thomas near the basket in the fourth. Thomas was given a flagrant foul. Drummond was able to keep playing. … The 3-pointer was the only field goal Tolliver attempted.
Knicks: Host Memphis on Friday night.
Pistons: Play at Indiana on Saturday night.