Patchwork Pistons take aim at struggling Knicks

Injuries have forced the Detroit Pistons to move players into different roles. They’ll likely be faced with that same predicament when they host the New York Knicks on Wednesday.Detroit has played its first eight games this season without All-Star forward Blake Griffin, who is awaiting medical clearance after rehabbing hamstring and knee injuries. Starting point guard Reggie Jackson will miss at least a month of action due to a stress reaction in his lower back. Jackson’s backups, Derrick Rose (hamstring) and Tim Frazier (shoulder), have missed the past two games.Second-year guard Bruce Brown, who had been the starting shooting guard, has been moved to point guard during their absences. Swingman Luke Kennard has taken more ball-handling responsibilities as well.It worked out fine in a victory over Brooklyn on Saturday but the duo faltered in a 115-99 loss at Washington on Monday, combining for nine of the team’s 21 turnovers.”I think we are learning from this. It is definitely a learning experience for me, having the ball a lot more,” Kennard said. “So we have to keep on going with it. Just keep on working at it, but we have to take that leadership. It is not easy. Kind of figuring that out right now.”What coach Dwane Casey saw was a lack of ball movement and patience.”I thought we tried to go a little bit too much one-on-one instead of moving the ball, making the right pass, playing with each other,” he said. “And that’s the only way we’re going to win without our main guys out, is moving the ball, playing together. I thought we did that against Brooklyn but you can’t do a once-a-week type approach. You’ve got to have it each and every night, a consistent approach.”The Knicks haven’t played since Sunday, when they were blown out at home by Sacramento 113-92. They trailed by 20 at halftime and couldn’t mount a comeback in the second half.New York was coming off a two-point loss at Boston.”Can’t really learn from it. We weren’t five men as a unit,” forward Julius Randle said. “We weren’t trusting each other. It’s a setback and it’s discouraging.”Forward Marcus Morris scored 28 points but the other frontcourt starters, Randle and Bobby Portis, combined for 10 points on 5-for-19 shooting.

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