Houston Leads N.Y. To Victory

Allan Houston felt far too much was made of his return trips to Detroit. Still, just in case anyone thought these visits made him uptight, Houston wanted to set the record straight.

Houston, who left Detroit as a free agent during the summer of 1996, scored 29 points as the New York Knicks remained undefeated with a 103-91 win that ruined the Pistons' home opener Friday night.

"I think any doubt was gone before," said Houston, who hit 10 of 13 shots, including both of his 3-point attempts. "But, if there is any question in anybody's mind, it's definitely gone now.

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  • "Personally, I never felt like an albatross."

    It was the third straight win for the Knicks (3-0) while the Pistons (0-3), who never led, remained winless.

    New York, leading 56-40 at the half, jumped out to a 22-point lead in the first two minutes of the third quarter on 3-pointers by Charlie Ward and Houston, plus a layup by Larry Johnson.

    "Give New York credit for hitting a lot of tough shots," Detroit coach Alvin Gentry said. "Allan has worked really hard to get where he has gotten."

    The Pistons, who got 30 points from Jerry Stackhouse and 23 from Grant Hill, tried to make a game of it in the fourth quarter, but had too much ground to cover.

    Hill had a three-point play and a pair of free throws, cutting it to 88-79 with 4:31 left. He then showed great hustle, diving over the scorer's table to save a loose ball, feeding it to Marcus Brown for a jumper that made it 88-81 with 4:05 remaining.

    But that's as close as the Pistons would get.

    It was down to seven points again after two free throws by Jerome Williams with 2:55 left, but Latrell Sprewell who scored 13 points drove for a layup off a steal and Chris Childs sank a 3-pointer with 2:38 left to open a 97-86 lead that sealed it.

    "We're playing well together," Sprewell said. "I love to see when myself or Allan or LJ gets double-teamed and we kick it out. I think everybody in the gym knows we're playing together."

    Marcus Camby had 19 points and 13 points for the Knicks.

    Williams had 10 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for the Pistons.

    The Pistons, not quite adjusted to their new run and gun offense, turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter mostly on wild passes that ended up in New York hands.

    "We couldn't get into a flow on either end," Hill said. "I can't explain it. We executed in the preseason, and now we aren't doing it. We just can't get it together."

    With Houston hitting jumpers from just about everywhere, the Knicks opened a 29-18 lead after one quarter.

    Hill, held to two first-quarter points, scored on two layups as the Pistons narrowed the gap to 40-33 with 4:32 left in the second quarter, but Houston went on another tear scoring seven the rest of the way to help New York open a 56-40 lead at the half.


  • The Backstreet Boys sang The Star Spangled Banner before the game. The group was in town for concerts the next three nights at The Palace.
  • The Pistons have played in three straight openers, playing the role of visitors for the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic before coming home for their own opener against the Knicks.
  • Despite playing at home, the Pistons debuted their new burgundy road uniforms. They will replace their old teal road uniforms.
  • Jerry Stackhouse and Pistons coach Alvin Gentry both celebrated birthdays Friday. Stackhouse was born Nov. 5, 1975, Gentry on the same date in 1954.

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