Knicks maintain off Pistons’ comeback bid

Kemba Walker Knicks

Kemba Walker Knicks

Kemba Walker #8 of the New York Knicks reacts against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden on December 21, 2021 in New York City. New York Knicks defeated the Detroit Pistons 105-91. Mike Stobe/Getty Images/AFP

Evan Fournier scored a game-high 22 points and Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson each posted double-doubles Tuesday night as the New York Knicks fended off a second-half rally by the visiting Detroit Pistons to earn a 105-91 win.

Randle had 21 points and 11 rebounds while Robinson came off the bench to collect 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks, who won for just the third time in 11 games.

Kemba Walker tallied 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He was a healthy scratch for 10 straight games before returning to the lineup Saturday after New York was decimated by injuries and COVID-19.

The Pistons, who lost for the 15th time in 16 games, cut a 22-point gap to five thanks largely to Saben Lee, who came off the bench to score 12 of his 16 points in the second half. Fellow reserve Trey Lyles scored all 13 of his points after halftime.

Detroit’s Saddiq Bey and Cory Joseph had 15 points apiece while Hamidou Diallo scored 10 points and Isaiah Stewart pulled down 11 rebounds.

The Pistons led 14-9 before Taj Gibson scored five points in a 10-0 run that gave the Knicks the lead for good. New York led 24-17 at the end of the first, carried a 48-37 edge into the half and scored the first 11 points of the second half to take its biggest lead at 59-37.

Lyles and Lee teamed up to score all of the Pistons’ points in a 16-8 run that ended the quarter and pulled them within 80-69. Detroit maintained the pressure early in the fourth quarter, when it outscored the Knicks 12-6 within the first 3:05 and closed the gap to 86-81 on a three-point play by Lee.

The Pistons had a chance to get within a possession after Fournier missed a pair of shots on New York’s next trip down the floor, but Diallo turned the ball over to begin a five-minute sequence in which Detroit went 1-for-9 with a pair of turnovers.

The Knicks re-established a double-digit lead when Fournier’s 3-pointer put them up 91-81 with 7:44 left. New York twice led by as many as 15 points down the stretch.

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