NEW YORK - Outclassed and embarrassed two nights earlier, the New York Knicks desperately needed more athleticism.
They found it in Bill Walker
"That's just natural ability," Walker said. "I've always been able to do that."
Tracy McGrady used to, and he showed some flashes of his old form last night.
It added up to an easy victory, as Walker scored a career-high 22 points in his first career start, and New York handed the Detroit Pistons their fifth straight loss with a 128-104 victory.
Humiliated while trailing by as much as 49 points in a loss at Cleveland on Monday, New York was the team having fun this time, enjoying a rare rout after a series of dunks and 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter.
Much of it came from Walker, who was stuck behind all-stars in Boston and spent parts of the last two seasons in the NBA Development League before the Knicks acquired him at the trade deadline.
"I always thought I could play on this type of level," Walker said. "It just took a while for me to get the opportunity."
Al Harrington scored 26 for the Knicks, who won for just the second time in 12 games and clinched the season series for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
David Lee had 21 points, 18 rebounds, and eight assists. McGrady, still playing his way into shape after missing most of season recovering from knee surgery, finished with 21 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds as the Knicks shot 55 percent from the field.
"Today was one of those days where I actually felt like my old self as far as my movements and my timing and everything, my rhythm," McGrady said. "I felt like I had another step."
Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey each scored 16 points for the Pistons.
With Wilson Chandler (personal reasons) out again, the Knicks put the newly acquired Walker into the lineup for some much-needed size and athleticism.
Harrington also started, with McGrady moving to point guard and Sergio Rodriguez coming off the bench.
The result was a comfortable lead for most of the game. The Pistons got within nine points early in the fourth, but the Knicks ran off nine straight points, highlighted by Walker's three-point play, to blow it open at 109-91. Harrington hit a couple of 3s later in the period, and Walker capped it off with a windmill dunk with 53 seconds to go.
"We lost our edge tonight, there's no question about it, and I was disappointed, because we've been playing some pretty good basketball up until tonight," Detroit coach John Kuester said. "We did not play with the type of intensity we have in the past."
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.