NBA: Playoff-bound Pistons drub lowly Knicks

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Apr 11 2019 10:59 AM

Detroit Pistons guard Luke Kennard (5) shoots over New York Knicks forward Isaiah Hicks (4) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Adam Hunger, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Luke Kennard scored 27 points off the bench and the postseason-bound Detroit Pistons closed out their regular season finale by walloping the host New York Knicks 115-89 on Wednesday.

The Pistons (41-41) qualified for the Eastern Conference playoffs for just the second time since the 2008-09 season. They were swept by Cleveland in the opening round of the 2015-16 playoffs.

Detroit will be the No. 8 seed and face top-seeded Milwaukee in the first round.

Kennard's point total was one shy of his career high. Reggie Jackson had 21 points and Andre Drummond supplied 20 points and 18 rebounds for Detroit. Wayne Ellington tossed in 12 points, all on 3-point makes.

The Pistons swept the season series from the Knicks (17-65), who finished with the NBA's worst record.

John Jenkins led the Knicks with 16 points off the bench. Kadeem Allen had 13 points and eight assists, and former Piston Henry Ellenson added 12 points.

The Pistons played without All-Star Blake Griffin, who was sidelined by a sore left knee. The Knicks sat out a host of players, including guard Dennis Smith Jr., who scored 25 points in a 10-point victory over Chicago on Tuesday.

Detroit led 36-22 at the end of the first quarter. Jackson scored 14 of those points, while Drummond had 10.

The lead continued to grow in the second quarter as Kennard scored 17 points in the first seven minutes. He capped that outburst with a mid-range shot that gave his club a 53-32 lead. Free throws by Jackson gave the Pistons a 27-point advantage with 2:48 left in the half.

Drummond dunked in the final minute to make it 65-41 heading into halftime.

Ellington drained a three with 6:30 remaining to give the Pistons a 25-point advantage. Jackson soon capped a 12-0 Detroit run with a three for an 82-50 lead. The Pistons led 92-59 at the end of the quarter.

Detroit led by as much as 40 in the fourth quarter.

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