NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony came back and the New York Knicks’ offensive woes went away.
Anthony scored 25 points in his return to the lineup, Landry Fields added 16 of his 18 in a flawless first half, and the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 113-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
Tyson Chandler had 17 points and Amare Stoudemire 15 for the Knicks, whose slumbering offense awoke in just their second victory in 11 games. They shot 60 percent from the field — amazingly the first time they bettered 50 percent all season — and fell just a point short of matching their highest scoring effort.
“A lot of that is Melo,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “You could see he was well, he looked good and we play a lot off him and he draws a lot of attention, makes it easy for everybody else, kind of puts everybody else back in their roles that they do. And we struggled with him out or with him hurt.”
Anthony had missed two straight games because of injuries to his ankle, wrist and thumb, finally shutting it down after shooting just 31.7 percent in six games since he was hurt on Jan. 12 at Memphis. But he drove easily and shot well after deciding shortly before the game he was ready to go, going 9 of 14 from the field and handing out six assists.
“My legs felt great out there tonight,” Anthony said. “I felt refreshed. Just taking these five, six days off that I did really helped me out big time. I could feel me having my explosiveness back. A lot of the things that I was doing prior to the Memphis game, it came back tonight.”
Jonas Jerebko scored 15 points and Greg Monroe had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Pistons (4-19), who lost their sixth straight and are struggling to even be competitive while playing without Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Will Bynum.
“We’re not even putting ourselves in a position where these games are in doubt,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. “We’re all embarrassed that we’re not doing better. We all have to raise our hands and figure out ways we can improve.”
Fields, who has played better lately after struggling early, made all six of his attempts in the first half, including four 3-pointers. The Knicks made 23 of 35 shots (65.7 percent) in the first half, going 6 of 8 behind the arc, and kept it up the rest of the night.
The Knicks have been in a season-long shooting slump, coming into the game 29th in the NBA in field-goal percentage at 41.4 percent. D’Antoni traced much of the problems to Anthony’s physical struggles, saying the Knicks had no way to attack without him.
But they’ve shredded the Pistons twice, dunking 13 times in a 103-80 victory on Jan. 7 in Detroit. All 12 players scored Tuesday, with reserve Bill Walker chipping in 11 points.
The Pistons trailed by double digits after one quarter in their previous two games, and were quickly down 17-7 in this one. They cut into the lead before Fields and Anthony made 3-pointers in the final 25 seconds of the period to give New York a 33-24 lead. Detroit kept it close until late in the second, but New York finished the half with a flurry and blew it open easily in the third quarter, when the Pistons managed just 12 points.
“We just didn’t give ourselves a chance,” forward Tayshaun Prince said. “When you’re losing games and playing the way we’re playing, the one thing you want to do is give yourself a chance to win, but we don’t do that.”
New York had botched home games against sub-.500 teams Charlotte, Toronto, Phoenix and Milwaukee, but couldn’t afford to blow this one with a back-to-back-to-back set that includes Chicago and Boston starting Thursday.
They got plenty of rest for that, emptying the bench early in the fourth.
“We were moving the ball,” Fields said, “and just going in tonight we wanted to make a statement going into these next three games. So I think we did that.”
NOTES: The Pistons finish a stretch of three games in three nights Wednesday at New Jersey, where Frank was the Nets’ coach from 2004 until he was fired after losing his first 16 games in the 2009-10 season. … D’Antoni said he doesn’t expect Baron Davis to play until next week. Davis is still recovering from a herniated disk in his back and started practicing last week, but wasn’t ready to debut during their four-game road trip and sat out practice Monday. D’Antoni said Davis didn’t have a setback, but the team felt it was better to give him more time.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)