Some fights aren't fair.
This one wasn't. The Knicks had spent a long night in Chicago, losing an overtime game that ended with an incident that cost them starting forward Antonio Davis. Thanks to the made-for-ESPN drama, Davis received a five-game suspension for entering the stands in Chicago on Wednesday .
The Knicks already knew they'd be without point guard Stephon Marbury, who was out with a sore shoulder, for Thursday night's matchup with the Pistons.
That meant three rookies - Channing Frye, David Lee and Nate Robinson - started against the veteran Pistons, who came to town off a blowout victory at Atlanta in which they managed to rest their starters.
But full-strength probably wouldn't have helped the Knicks. The Pistons rolled to a 105-79 victory.
"We knew they played that overtime game," said Tayshaun Prince, who scored 18 points, including four open three-pointers. "We didn't play that many minutes last night. So the key for us was just to get out quickly, make some stuff happen. It seemed like they had slow feet from the start of the game, which allowed us to jump on them early."
Jump they did. They led by 15 points after the first quarter as they held the Knicks to 31.6 percent shooting and 13 points.
The Larry Brown-led Knicks didn't get any closer than six the rest of the game.
And the lack of fairness didn't make the Pistons enjoy it any less. They will take a win any which way - baked, roasted, broiled, steamed, blackened, bruised - and enjoy it going down. They've had 32, and if anything, they seem hungrier with each passing game.
That's why Rasheed Wallace howled as he cradled the ball and stomped over the baseline after officials called him for a blocking foul. Wallace scored 23 points and spent the fourth quarter in his practice mode, yelling encouragement and critiques to the reserves.
"It was like practice out there the last two games," forward Antonio McDyess said. "I think everything we did was on point. I think we're clicking on all cylinders, shooting the ball well, playing good defense. I think overall, I'd grade us an A tonight."
The fourth quarter? More of the same, except by then, the fans had started cheering for Detroit.
They saved an especially hearty one for forward Darko Milicic, who entered the game with six minutes left.
Milicic fared better than he has in quite some time.
He scored six points, hitting all three of his shots. He also had three rebounds and an assist.
Shooting guard Richard Hamilton was as blistering as ever.
He scored 26 points and shot 11-for-16. He showed his range, too, hitting two three-pointers and scoring off several drives into the post.
And point guard Chauncey Billups had his lowest scoring night of the season with two points.
But he had 13 assists, and the Pistons increased their win streak to six.
Kings 118, Lakers 109, OT
At Sacramento, California, Mike Bibby scored 40 points, Kenny Thomas had six points in overtime to cap his first career triple-double, and Sacramento overcame Kobe Bryant's 51-point performance for an overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brad Miller scored 16 points and forced overtime on a 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight game in a thriller despite Bryant's best game ever against the Lakers' longtime rivals.