DETROIT — Yes, things can get worse.
The Knicks lost again to a struggling team. The Detroit Pistons and their steamroller center Andre Drummond flattened the Knicks, 122-102, Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena.
The loss dashed any hope the Knicks had of rebounding from a particularly ugly loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. It also means that the team will now limp into the Kristaps Porzingis game in Dallas on Friday with a league-worst 1-7 record.
The Knicks had no answer for Drummond, who led five Detroit players in double figures and finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
The Knicks knew they were going to have a hard time dealing Drummond, the league’s leading rebounder. That hard time turned into an impossibility after Mitchell Robinson, the one Knick with an interior presence, left the game with concussion-like symptoms after he was inadvertently elbowed in the head by Svi Mykhailiuk.
“He had a great start to the game,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said of Robinson. “Obviously, he’s our best defensively. Not having him tonight, it’s a big blow.”
It is not known if Robison will be back Friday when the Knicks face Porzingis, the player Knicks fans once thought would be a superstar in New York for years to come.
The Knicks will also be without Dennis Smith Jr., who was the most valuable asset the Knicks got back when they traded an unhappy Porzingis to Dallas last February. Smith is with his family after the death of his stepmother.
The Knicks team that visits Dallas has 10 new players. It also appears to be nearing a crisis mode, especially on defense, as they have suffered back-to-back blowout losses to beatable teams. The Pistons shot 55.7 percent, including 50 percent from three-point range.
The Pistons (4-5) should be a playoff team once everyone is healthy. But the squad that took the court Wednesday night certainly was vulnerable as Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose were all out with injuries.
Not all was doom and gloom in the game. Injuries to the Pistons’ top two guards opened the door for Frank Ntilikina, and he responded with one of his better games on both ends of the floor. Ntilikina blocked three shots and hit a three-pointer when the game was still tight.
“He had consistent play. Aggressive, consistent play,” Fizdale said.
“He worked hard defensively for us and got us organized. Played with great pace tonight . . . I”m really happy with the way he played.”
Julius Randle had his best offensive game since the season opener. Randle, who did not reach double figures in the last two games, scored 20 points, including 17 in the first half.
“I was in a better rhythm,” he said. “It’s a long season so I knew it was going to happen eventually. I’m not worried about it. I just want to get wins, man. It’s tough.
“It’s hard to say looking at the short-term picture of what we’re trying to do. You try to look at the long-term perspective of where we’ll be at the end of the season and are we taking the right steps to get there. I think we are. But in the short term it’s tough losing.”