After a pair of crushing losses, where the New York Knicks came up short twice in close games, the Knicks seek to get back on track.

While it’s been a rough up-and-down patch for the Knicks (9-11), it doesn’t quite compare to the struggles of their next opponent, the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons (5-17) are also coming off of back-to-back losses. While they got a brief taste of victory with a pair of road wins last week – their first consecutive winning stretch of the season – they suffered a seven-game losing streak right before that.

New York has beaten Detroit in its previous two meetings. The Knicks won in lopsided fashion for their first victory of the season back on October 21, a 130-106 result at home. The two teams met again on November 11, when New York won a closer 121-112 matchup.

This will be the third of four meetings between the Knicks and Pistons. New York has dominated the series as of late. Dating back to the 2019-20 season, the Mike Miller (!) coaching era, New York has won 10 straight against Detroit.

Tuesday night’s game is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. ET from the Motor City.

Get-right game

Given the Pistons’ struggles, this is a great opportunity for the Knicks to get back on track. As a matter of fact, when New York beat Detroit both times this season, it was coming off of a loss.

While there are a variety of issues stopping the Knicks from finding consistency so far this season, overall as a unit, this is a chance for them to show some competency on the defensive end of the court. Last season, the overall defense was something the Knicks could hang their hat on. They ranked sixth in the NBA for points per game (106.6) and three-point shooting percentage allowed (34.2%). This year, they enter Tuesday ranked 26th in points per game allowed (116.9), with teams knocking down an average of 13.8 threes per game (29th in the league).

Defensively, they’ve been shaky, but this weekend was atrocious. They gave up 132 points to Portland, albeit in an overtime slugfest. Jerami Grant dropped a career-high 44 points, while Anfernee Simons enjoyed a season-high 38-point outing in Damian Lillard’s absence.

Against Memphis to finish the weekend, the Grizzlies put up 127 points as a team. While Ja Morant did Ja Morant things and led the way with a triple-double, there were times the Knicks just lost their man or gave up open threes.

Detroit doesn’t have the star power or success, but it does have some promising young pieces, along with veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks who can shoot threes at a respectable rate.

Whether it means changing up personnel and letting proven defenders like Cam Reddish take a bigger role to help stabilize the defense moving forward or the established core of the roster just stepping up more, this is an opportunity for the Knicks to get back on track on so many levels. It starts on the defensive end, then everything else can fall into place.

Previewing the Pistons

It’s been a revolving door for Detroit, who can’t quite seem to get to full strength, as players go in and out of the lineup due to various injuries throughout the season.

The biggest blow has been to Cade Cunningham, who is out indefinitely with a shin injury.

Bojan Bogdanovic (right knee), Jaden Ivey (right knee), Isaiah Stewart (toe), and Marvin Bagley III (migraines) are all currently listed as questionable for Tuesday night’s game.

Bogdanovic, who didn’t play against Cleveland on Sunday, has been Detroit’s leading scorer at 20.6 points per game. Burks also spent some time nursing his own set of injuries earlier in the year, and since returning has been the Pistons’ second-leading scorer with Cunningham out, at 16.7 points per game. Burks has also been efficient from the perimeter, shooting at a 42.9% clip from downtown.

Ivey has been one of the top-performing rookies so far, averaging 16.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, but if he can’t play, that means the Pistons will turn to Killian Hayes, who’s started to get himself going after a disastrous start to the season. Hayes is coming off a 16-point, eight-assist game against the Cavaliers.

Saddiq Bey, who also had his share of injuries, is off to a rough start in his third NBA season. After being one of their top perimeter threats, he’s currently on pace for a career-low three-point shooting percentage and through 18 games, is shooting just 28.6% from long range.

Bagley’s migraines are a recent development and were announced Monday night. The 6-foot-10 big man had been a bright spot in recent games, with double-doubles in his last two outings, including a team-high 19-point, 10-rebound game against Cleveland.

With the roster rocked by the injury bug, the Knicks should be able to bounce back and take care of business, but nothing is ever guaranteed.

Knicks’ injury report

The list is much shorter than the Pistons, with the team announcing that only Immanuel Quickley (knee) is listed as questionable.

Related Content:

»Read: A Leon Rose retrospective… so far

»Read: Perimeter disengagement is plaguing the Knicks

»Read: The Knicks should give their deep bench a shot