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PREVIEW: New York Knicks look to get past ugly loss as Pistons visit

NBA free agents: Derrick Rose
Feb 28, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4) dribbles the ball during the first quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks might get Derrick Rose back for their final game before the All-Star break after all.

The Knicks were without the veteran point guard on Tuesday due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols as they took a 119-93 road loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Rose was forced to sit out because of an inconclusive COVID-19 test prior to the game.

According to multiple media reports, however, Rose was cleared to fly back to New York with the team after multiple subsequent tests came back negative. Rose would be able to play against his former team on Thursday night when the Knicks host the Pistons if he tests negative again pregame.

Rose was averaging 16.3 points and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 52.8 percent overall and 62.5 percent from 3-point range over the Knicks’ three-game winning streak that ended Tuesday.

New York rookie Immanuel Quickley came off the bench to score 26 points, but most of that came after the Spurs were in control. All-Star Julius Randle struggled, finishing with 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting. It was his lowest-scoring game since he was held to 12 points at Miami on Feb. 9.

“It’s nothing they did,” Randle said. “I got to my spots. Missed shots. That was really it.”

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of the defeat, “You get what you deserve.”

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The Pistons deserved their Wednesday victory largely due to their reserves yet as they routed the depleted Toronto Raptors 129-105 in Tampa.

Detroit 3-point sharpshooter Wayne Ellington started and buried 8 of 11 from behind the arc and led the team with a season-high 25 points.

Off the bench, though, Rodney McGruder and Saben Lee each had 20 points. The Pistons entered the game averaging 41.9 bench points, but they got 56 points from their reserves against the Raptors, who played without head coach Nick Nurse and five players, including Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby, due to health and safety protocols.

Mason Plumlee and Dennis Smith Jr. each posted triple-doubles, the 13th time teammates have done so in the same regular-season game in NBA history. Smith finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists while Plumlee had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

“That was really special,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “It was an excellent team win. I didn’t think we had a snowball’s chance with all our guys out.”

The Pistons were missing Jerami Grant (left quadriceps contusion) and Josh Jackson (illness).

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Smith is averaging eight points, four assists and 3.3 rebounds in 11 games since joining the Pistons following the Rose trade. He notched his third career triple-double.

“My thing as of late has been trying to get to the ball and making a play to help us win,” Smith said. “We were making shots tonight, and we kept the energy in the game from start to finish. I think that was the main thing.”

For the Knicks, Elfrid Payton has missed the past four games due to a right hamstring injury and is listed as doubtful. Taj Gibson (sprained left ankle) is also listed as doubtful. Mitchell Robinson (right hand surgery) remains out and will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break. Austin Rivers did not play against the Spurs, and Thibodeau said he had an ankle issue.

–Field Level Media