Pistons 103, Knicks 97


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Richard Hamilton scored 28 points and Tayshaun Prince added 20 as the Detroit Pistons set a franchise record for wins in a 103-97 victory over the New York Knicks.

The Pistons (64-16) broke the mark of 63 wins set by the 1988-89 Bad Boys NBA champs, a team led by current Knicks president Isiah Thomas. The Knicks (22-58) need to win their final two games to avoid matching a franchise record for losses.

The Knicks were without coach Larry Brown because of a stomach ailment and dressed only 10 players, with Steve Francis (back), Stephon Marbury (knee), Quentin Richardson (thumb) and Channing Frye (knee) among the missing.

Herb Williams ran the team in place of Brown, who has missed games while coaching both franchises in the last year because of health issues.

Rasheed Wallace added 10 points for Detroit, which only had three players reach double figures. Eight Pistons played at least 20 minutes.

Nate Robinson led the Knicks with 23 points, while Jackie Butler added 18 and nine rebounds.

The game was never competitive, as the Pistons got a three-point play from Prince three seconds after the tip, led by double digits after just 98 seconds and were up by as many as 27 in the first quarter.

Detroit coach Flip Saunders began emptying his bench early in the second – all 12 Pistons players saw first-half action – but they still led 60-43 at the intermission.

The margin was still 17 after three, and the Pistons’ reserves did just enough to keep the Knicks at bay in the fourth. New York pulled within six on Butler’s hook with 24 seconds left, but chose not to foul as Detroit ran out the clock.

Notes: Knicks assistant coach Mark Aguirre was also a member of the 1988-89 Pistons. … Robinson played 14 minutes in the first half despite picking up two fouls in the first 20 seconds of the game. … The Knicks lost 59 games in 1962-63 and 1985-86. … The Pistons and Detroit Red Wings are the first teams from the same city to finish with the NBA and NHL’s best regular-season record in the same season. … The Pistons also tied a team record with their 37th home win. They can set a new mark Wednesday against the Wizards.

AP-ES-04-16-06 2036EDT