NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony's three straight 3-pointers in a 15-0 third-quarter run were just what the Knicks thought they needed to break away from the Detroit Pistons.
"Coming out of halftime, we said we just need one run to just separate ourselves," Anthony said.
But to win it, they needed Anthony to grab one big rebound against a bigger front line, then hit a couple of finishing free throws.
Anthony scored 13 of his 34 points in the third, then put it away with two free throws with 2.9 seconds left as the Knicks handed the Pistons a season-high fifth straight loss with an 89-85 victory on Tuesday night.
Raymond Felton finished with 12 points and six assists in his return from injury for the Knicks, who came home from a 2-1 Texas swing and held on after blowing most of the 17-point lead they built while outscoring the Pistons 32-17 in the third quarter.
Andrea Bargnani had 13 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Knicks overcome the absence of an ill Tyson Chandler to beat the Pistons at Madison Square Garden for the eighth straight time.
Josh Smith had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, while Andre Drummond finished with 12 points and 17 boards.
The Pistons were 3 of 19 on 3-pointers and badly missed reserve guard Rodney Stuckey, who missed his third straight game with a sore shoulder, because starters Brandon Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot a combined 3 for 18.
"We had a very good effort," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We were able to fight back, but we couldn't make any shots at the end."
Anthony finally brought some offense to an ugly game in the third. He drilled three in a row from behind the arc, the first two from nearly the same spot in front of old teammate and current Pistons assistant coach Rasheed Wallace, to make it 58-49. Felton followed with a jumper before Anthony dunked to cap a 15-0 spurt and give the Knicks a 62-49 advantage.
Jennings ended the run with Detroit's first 3-pointer of the game, but Amare Stoudemire and Anthony had baskets before Iman Shumpert converted a three-point play when Greg Monroe made a feeble attempt to foul him, as the lead ballooned to 69-52.