New York − The Pistons stood in a bittersweet situation hours before tip-off against the New York Knicks.
The good news? The team welcomed Alec Burks to the lineup after he missed training camp and the first three weeks of the season due to a fractured left foot.
The bad news arrived when the injury report revealed the team would be without Cade Cunningham due to left shin soreness, which limited him on Wednesday against Boston, according to coach Dwane Casey.
Detroit’s shorthanded roster fell to the Knicks for the second time this season (third if you count the preseason) in a 121-112 loss on Friday.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons (3-10) with 25 points, five rebounds and three assists. New York (6-6) was led by their Big Three of RJ Barrett (30 points), Jalen Brunson (26 points) and Julius Randle (21 points).
After trailing by as many as 17, the Pistons climbed back within six points with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter. However, Immanuel Quickley nailed a corner 3-pointer to give the Knicks a 119-110 lead with 40 seconds left. Detroit couldn’t muster another comeback in the game’s waning seconds, which resulted in its seventh consecutive road loss.
Casey inserted Cory Joseph into the starting lineup in place of Cunningham, but the veteran guard picked up two early fouls within the first minute of the game. Foul trouble hindered Joseph, who racked up four fouls in just six minutes of action.
Killian Hayes, who entered the game coming off a strong performance against the Celtics, was quickly subbed in. Hayes continued to show his aggressive demeanor on offense, finishing with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists. It was his first time scoring over 10 points in back-to-back games.
Burks made his Pistons debut on Friday against his former team at Madison Square Garden, his first game since the Knicks traded him to Detroit during the offseason. He checked in at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter. He missed his first shot, a fadeaway midrange from the baseline, but it didn’t take long for him to find his rhythm. He connected on his second shot, a straight-on 3-pointer just before time expired in the first quarter.
Burks’ offensive impact was felt immediately and he helped Detroit’s bench score 53 points. He totaled 17 points and two rebounds on 5-of-12 shooting and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Isaiah Stewart was also limited in Friday’s game due to picking up four personal fouls. He had 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes. The Pistons await the return of Marvin Bagley, who’s gearing closer to a return from his right knee MCL sprain. Adding Bagley back to the lineup is sure to help Detroit in case their third-year center continues to get into foul trouble.
The Pistons will wrap up their fourth back-to-back of the season on Saturday when Boston visits Little Caesars Arena for a rematch. The game will also mark a return for former Detroit All-Star forward Blake Griffin.