Forward Carmelo Anthony, who left Monday's loss to the Trail Blazers and played 29 minutes in Wednesday's loss to the Clippers, was held out by a sore knee, depriving the Knicks of his team-leading 23.9 points per game.
In addition to Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire was out with knee soreness, Tim Hardaway Jr. was sidelined with a concussion, Samuel Dalembert was out due to a sprained ankle and Iman Shumpert did not play due to a dislocated shoulder.
New York's starting five included J.R. Smith, Jose Calderon, Pablo Prigioni, Cole Aldrich and Jason Smith. Aldrich scored 11 points and recorded 14 rebounds and three blocks, while Smith scored 22 points, 15 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Detroit shot 50 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.
The loss is the Knicks' 10th in a row, and leaves them with a 5-30 overall record. The only team with a worse record is Philadelphia at 4-26.
New York hosts the Milwaukee Bucks (17-17) on Sunday at 7:30 pm EST.
- Christopher Woody