The Pistons needed clutch play down the stretch from Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer to hold off the New York Knicks, 106-103, Friday night in their opener at Auburn Hills, Mich.
Thomas scored seven points and made a key defensive play in the closing minutes, and Laimbeer scored 11 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks, who trailed from five minutes into the game, caught up, 100-100, with 1:40 left when Johnny Newman stole the ball from Thomas, was fouled and made two free throws.
Laimbeer sank a jump shot from the key 22 seconds later and Thomas stole the ball from Patrick Ewing, which led to two more points and the victory. Thomas finished with 17 points and 10 assists. Joe Dumars led the Pistons with 26 points, making 11 of 15 shots from the floor.
Last season, while winning the Atlantic Division title, the Knicks beat the Pistons all four times they met.
Before the game, the Pistons received their $4,000 championship rings.