Charlie Villanueva got the ball just right of the top of the three-point circle and slowly rose for jumper.


A Villanueva appearance (much less a made basket) has been rare this season. But after the struggles of Jonas Jerebko in the early part of the season, Villanueva got a shot Sunday against the Knicks.

And he put the ball in the basket for 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting, including 3-for-7 from the three-point line, in 19 minutes.

The Pistons were pounded by 21 points, but the lineup switch seemed to help in Monday's 108-101 win over Portland. Villanueva scored 10 points in 15 minutes.

Giving Villanueva minutes with the second unit spreads the floor for slashers Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey and Corey Maggette.

And maybe the Pistons finally have an active center in Andre Drummond that can offset Villanueva's rebounding and defensive weaknesses.

"Charlie is a good player. He's been in the league, what, eight or nine years?" Bynum said. "He has the résumé. A shooter, stretch-four. When you have shooters out there like that it's hard to defend."