Looking to continue their climb, the Knicks take on the struggling Pistons

An afternoon game after returning from a busy trip sometimes turns into a trap game for playoff teams.

The New York Knicks, however, responded quite well and then achieved favorable results in the standings.

With an eye on third place in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks play the second of four straight games against losing teams Monday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.

The Knicks (42-28) captured their second straight season win in the fourth quarter of a 105-93 victory over the struggling Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. This came two days after finishing a 3-1 road trip with a 13-point loss to the Denver Nuggets.

New York won for the fifth time in six games after a run of nine losses in 13 games that coincided with numerous injuries.

“I don’t know the standings. I don’t know what this win feels like, but we needed it,” New York’s Josh Hart said. “We had a good trip, but a tough loss in Denver with a quick turnaround. We needed it.”

A day after starting a stretch that will see them visit the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs, the Knicks fell within a half-game of the Cleveland Cavaliers. New York is also half a game ahead of the Orlando Magic in fifth.

New York remains shorthanded as OG Anunoby will miss his fourth straight game with a right elbow injury.

Without Anunoby, along with Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, against the Nets, Donte DiVincenzo and Miles McBride combined for 57 points on 21-of-40 shooting from the field, including 10 3-pointers.

DiVincenzo scored 13 points in the quarter as the Knicks pulled away, allowing Brooklyn just 16 points. New York also allowed fewer than 100 points for the sixth time in eight games since giving up 116 in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on March 5.