Stackhouse scores 19, dishes career-best 13 assists


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Jerry Stackhouse took another step toward closing the gap between himself and rest of the NBA's elite.

Stackhouse had a career-high 13 assists and 19 points and Corliss Williamson scored a season-high 24 points as Detroit beat the New York Knicks 99-97 on Thursday night to maintain the best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Pistons (14-6) have won three in a row and six of seven at home.

Stackhouse has been regarded as one of the NBA's best scorers for a couple of years, but since he's never been on a team that has won a playoff series, he hasn't earned a ton of respect.

That will change if the Pistons keep rolling because Stackhouse
has already shown this season -- by passing more and playing tough defense -- he's more interested in winning than chasing scoring titles.

Stackhouse also had six rebounds and two blocks.

"Jerry Stackhouse is doing a lot of new things for him this year," Detroit's first-year coach Rick Carlisle said. "I really though the greatest thing he did tonight was really let the game come to him. I thought he was patient and he made the right passes
to guys for open shots."

Stackhouse deflected the credit for his playmaking success
against the Knicks.

"You can't get assists unless guys are making shots," he said.

The Knicks (11-11) are 1-2 since Don Chaney replaced Jeff Van Gundy.

Chaney, a former Pistons head coach, was impressed with the Pistons.

"That's a very good team because of their depth," he said. "They can put five shooters on the floor or they can go defensive. They key is that they have two or three players coming off the bench who could start for almost any team."

Williamson, second in the league in shooting percentage, led
Detroit's reserves with a 10-of-15 shooting performance and 16
first-half points. Reserve Jon Barry added eight points, six
rebounds and two steals.

Detroit didn't trail after Williamson made a shot with 5:53 to
play, but the Knicks never went away.

New York got within one point four times in the final two
minutes and had a chance to tie the game with a couple seconds
left, but Latrell Sprewell missed an off-balance mid-range jumper.
About 25 seconds earlier, he missed a shot that would've given New
York a one-point lead.

"I had a great look," Sprewell said. "I can't complain about it. The one I am really kicking myself about is the one before that. It was pretty much a layup, but they ran guys at me and I just put too much on it. I couldn't believe I missed it."

Sprewell, who scored 49 points in Tuesday's loss to Boston, had
22 points. Marcus Camby had 20 points and 16 rebounds, Allan
Houston scored 19 and Mark Jackson added 18.

Chucky Atkins, Cliff Robinson and Ben Wallace added 12 each for
the Pistons. Wallace also grabbed 13 rebounds.

Robinson hit consecutive 3-pointers on assists from Stackhouse
to give Detroit a 92-87 lead with 3:13 left. Sprewell made layups
and free throws to bring New York within one three times.

Jackson scored to cut New York's deficit to 98-97 with 7.6
seconds left and Stackhouse made one of two free throws a second

Chaney went 48-116 as coach of the Pistons from 1993-95 before
becoming a Knicks assistant.

"I felt that if I hung around the game, I would get a shot
again," Chaney said. "I just didn't expect this -- I never
imagined that Jeff was thinking about leaving."

Game notes
Stackhouse tied his previous career-high with 11 assists
earlier this season against Seattle. ... Stackhouse played after
sitting out of Sunday's win over the Houston Rockets with a groin
strain and said he felt OK after the game. ... Houston, who was a
member of the Pistons from 1993-96, was booed almost every time he
touched the ball.