The New York Knicks returned from the All-Star break Tuesday night at Auburn Hills, Mich. Unfortunately, their game against the Detroit Pistons had been under way for 2 1/2 quarters when they arrived.
The Pistons, mired in the Central Division cellar, led, 81-53, with 5:35 left in the third quarter. Once the Knicks got their wake-up calls, they actually gave the 15,513 reason to stick around until the final buzzer before falling, 106-94.
The rally did not appease Knick Coach Pat Riley, who plans to run his lackluster team ragged in practice today. It probably won't feel good to Riley, either: He punched a massive hole in a locker-room chalkboard at halftime.
"We let the shooters shoot the ball, we let the drivers drive the ball, we let the post-up players get as deep as they wanted to get in the post," Riley griped. "If we play defense like that, we're not going to compete. We didn't compete until we were 25 down.
"We couldn't catch it, we couldn't shoot it, we couldn't make a layup. We were bad. We played a bad, bad game, everybody . . . and that's from 1 through 12. There isn't anybody in that locker room who should feel good about anything. They should look at themselves."
Grant Hill scored a game-high 25 points. Five other Pistons scored in double figures, including Terry Mills with 17.
Patrick Ewing led the Knicks in scoring with 24 points.
Seattle 118, Golden State 108--All-Stars Gary Payton, Detlef Schrempf and Shawn Kemp combined for a 12-0 spurt in the last four minutes at Tacoma, Wash., as the SuperSonics rallied to spoil the coaching debut of Bob Lanier.
Lanier, the Warriors' interim coach, replaced Don Nelson, who resigned last Monday.
"They're a great team with great players. Those guys are good down the stretch," Lanier said. "It makes it hard to defend a team like Seattle."
Payton, who had 26 points, tied the game, 103-103, with 4:03 to play on a three-point basket. Then Schrempf's three-point basket put the Sonics ahead to stay.
Nate McMillan had six points, six rebounds and 10 assists in 31 minutes without a turnover.
"I was proud of the way we played down the stretch," McMillan said. "Detlef and Gary came up with the big plays when we needed them."
New Jersey 109, Charlotte 98--Kenny Anderson returned from an injury to get 18 points and 11 assists and spark the Nets at East Rutherford, N.J.
Playing without Derrick Coleman, who is still sidelined because of a hip injury, New Jersey limited the Hornets to 11 points in the third quarter and held Larry Johnson to 13 points all game.
Armon Gilliam led six New Jersey players in double figures with 26.
Orlando 111, Indiana 92--Dennis Scott made four of the Magic's seven three-point baskets in the fourth quarter and finished with 18 points at Orlando.
Rik Smits led the Pacers with 20 points.
Miami 112, Milwaukee 99--Alvin Gentry got his first victory as the Heat's coach and 20 points from Billy Owens at Miami.
Gentry took over earlier in the day after Kevin Loughery was fired.
Rookie Glenn Robinson scored 13 of his 30 points in the first quarter to pace the Bucks. Todd Day added 23 points, but Milwaukee's 27 turnovers were too much to overcome.
Washington 99, Minnesota 96--Calbert Cheaney scored nine of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Bullets, who had blown a 20-point lead in the first half at Minneapolis.
Cheaney scored nine points in a 23-8 run over the first eight minutes of the final quarter as Washington ended a six-game losing streak.
San Antonio 112, Utah 96--David Robinson scored 29 points to help the Spurs win at San Antonio.
The Spurs made four three-point baskets in the final nine minutes of their ninth victory in their last 10 games. They have won 24 of their last 30.
Rod Strickland's 25 points and Clifford Robinson's 17 paced the Trail Blazers, whose three-game winning streak was snapped.
Atlanta 99, Denver 88--Steve Smith scored 30 points and Mookie Blaylock had 19, leading the Hawks to their third victory in a row.
Smith scored 13 points in the first quarter at Denver, helping the Hawks build a 15-point lead, and Denver got no closer than six points after that.
Reserve Brian Williams scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Nuggets.
Denver's Dikembe Mutombo, the NBA's leader in blocked shots, had two, giving him 1,001 for his career. He is the 38th player in NBA history to record 1,000 blocks.
Sacramento 108, Boston 101--Walt Williams scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the first quarter and also made four free throws in the final 12 seconds as the Kings won at Sacramento.
Dallas' Roy Tarpley, who had expected to be activated this week, will be sidelined at least another week because of a bruised right foot suffered when he dropped a five-gallon water bottle on it at home. . . . The Mavericks are also without guard Tony Dumas, who reaggravated tendinitis in his right knee during Saturday's NBA slam dunk competition. . . . Guard Ricky Pierce, who has missed 24 games this season because of a bulging back disk, was activated by the Golden State Warriors. . . . The Warriors also placed guard Ryan Lorthridge on the injured list because of viral influenza. . . . The New York Knicks activated center Herb Williams from the injured list and waived center Greg Kite.