The New York Knicks look to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the young season when they visit the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
In a campaign that has gone wrong from the start, the Knicks have actually looked like a real team on the road, winning two of three games, while losing their last five at Madison Square Garden. The latest of those setbacks was an ugly 110-90 loss to Atlanta on Saturday that has prompted some serious soul-searching for a team that won 54 games last season.
"It's like we're not even trying right now," leading scorer Carmelo Anthony told reporters after the 20-point loss.
Effort aside, the Pistons have not fared any better in the win column, finishing up a 1-3 road trip with a 114-99 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Brandon Jennings led Detroit with 23 points but his teammates combined to shoot 4-of-14 from the free-throw line and 4-of-15 from beyond the arc.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FSN Detroit
ABOUT THE KNICKS (3-6): The circus surrounding the Knicks provided another sideshow with the inclusion of J.R. Smith's brother, Chris Smith, for nine games prior to his assignment to the D-League on Monday. Many questioned whether Chris Smith had earned his spot or was simply on the roster because of his big brother, but the younger Smith never got off the bench and was inactive in eight of the nine games while a member of the club, making the actual move unsurprising.
Meanwhile, J.R. Smith, who was fined for hostile tweets defending his brother, has put his status as a starter in question by shooting 12-for-53 since returning from a five-game suspension to start the season.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (3-6): The poor showing at the foul line against the Lakers dropped Detroit to last in the NBA in that category entering Monday's play. The Pistons were also 29th in 3-point shooting, with top outside threats Jennings and Josh Smith combining to go 28-of-90 from long range.
What has helped the team overcome some of its shooting woes is a forceful effort on the offensive boards, as big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe both rank among the top three in the league in that category and Detroit as a team topped the NBA with 14.4 offensive rebounds per game entering Monday.
1. Pistons PG Chauncey Billups has missed two straight games with left knee tendinitis.
2. Reports surfaced over the weekend that the Knicks were shopping SG Iman Shumpert in trade talks, including one in a proposal with Boston designed to nab star PG Rajon Rondo from the Celtics.
3. Anthony has been held to 20.4 points, nearly five points below his career average, on 40.4 percent shooting in his career against the Pistons.