The Pistons started their big three lineup, Josh Smith the small forward struggled and shot just 2-of-13 in the first half and the Pistons ... dominated the New York Knicks early.
Detroit was powered by another strong game from Greg Monroe (23 points), some terrific Smith defense on Carmelo Anthony, who didn't score a field goal in the first half, and were finally able to start knocking down some of their open outside looks.
The Pistons hit 11 of 23 three-point shots (47.8 percent) after hitting just 21 percent in the first three games of the season. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jonas Jerebko who played just 15 minutes but scored 11 points, including knocking down three of four 3-pointers. He should really be cutting into Smith's playing time.
Most importantly to head coach Stan Van Gundy, however, was the Pistons' dominance on the boards. Detroit outrebounded New York 55-43 behind double-digit rebounds from the three big men, led by Monroe (18) and followed by Drummond (13) and Smith (10).
Monroe was helped on the offensive end by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP, who couldn't seem to hit anything in the first few games of the season, couldn't miss at the start of the night. Caldwell-Pope nailed his first four attempts from deep and finished with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting overall.
The Pistons tried to give it away late, with a one-time 18 point lead trimmed to two with 1.3 seconds remaining behind Anthony (13), Tim Hardaway Jr (20 points), a stagnant Pistons offense and poor Detroit free-throw shooting late. The Pistons were outscored in the fourth quarter 36-23.
The Pistons couldn't breathe a final sigh of relief until Iman Shumpert's full-court heave came up short and Detroit was able to walk away with the three-point win. Old habits die hard, I guess.
A blowout was turned into simple survival, but a win is a win and the Pistons notched their first victory of the season.