By Dave Johnson
With a three-game winning streak the Washington Wizards are doing well. Fresh off a win in Toronto that made up for a home loss to the Raptors, the Wizards will try to extend their winning streak against Detroit and atone for a slip on the road against the Pistons.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
In the final game before the NBA All-Star break the Wizards were in a position to match their season-high with a five-game winning streak, but were tripped by a bad fourth quarter in Detroit. The Wizards had trouble with the Pistons’ back court, especially Will Bynum, and they were outscored 31-17 over the game’s final twelve minutes.
The Pistons have a chance to complete the season sweep against the Wizards. In addition to the loss earlier this month, the Wizards lost to the Pistons on back-to-back nights in December with two of their most disappointing efforts of the season. The Pistons have won 14 of the last 16 meetings against the Wizards.
Have lost three straight (Indiana twice, Atlanta). Coming off of a 114-103 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Detroit Monday night.
Detroit played Monday’s game without Will Bynum (suspension), Corey Maggette (illness), Brandon Knight (Knee), and Andre Drummond (Back) in the lineup.
Bynum was suspended from Monday’s game after punching Hansborough against Indiana on Saturday.
Bynum will be back from his suspension on Wednesday, Maggette is listed as questionable, Knight is questionable, and Drummond is expected to be out of the lineup until Mid March.
Of late the Pistons have been experimenting with the PF position, with Jonas Jerebko getting significant minutes and drawing back playing time for players like Maxiell and Villanueva. On Monday Jerebko had his season-high scoring game (21 pts), just one point shy of his career best.
The Detroit defense has improved tremendously throughout the season. Rarely do they give up an uncontested shot.
Greg Monroe leads the Pistons in points this season, averaging 15.7 PPG. Monroe also leads in rebounds (9.5 RPG), steals (1.3), and Field Goal Percentage this season (48.4%)
With too many turnovers and not enough rebounds the Washington Wizards’ bid for a fifth consecutive win was on shaky ground through three quarters against the Pistons in Detroit. It was ground that collapsed when the Pistons pulled away for a 96-85 victory.
The solid defense by the Wizards that held the Pistons to only 41 percent shooting from the field through the first three quarters evaporated in the fourth quarter when the Pistons outscored the Wizards 31-17. Jose Calderon led the Pistons with 24 points and Will Bynum scored 12 of his 19 points in the final twelve minutes.
“Turnovers and they beat us up on the boards. Twenty to our eight second-chance points. In a close game it is going to cost you and then we did not have an answer for (Jose) Calderon or (Will) Bynum in the fourth quarter. They kind of did what they wanted to do.”
The Wizards built an eight-point lead in the third quarter at 63-55, but then committed three turnovers in less than three minutes to allow the Pistons to stay close. The Wizards, with a 68-65 lead going into the fourth quarter, were in position for another win, but the team’s usually reliable defense failed.
“Disappointing, yeah. I thought that this was a game going into the fourth quarter ahead and these are the games we have been winning down the stretch, so yeah it is a little disappointing. We are still doing a lot of good things leading into this. We have to go into this break, recharge our batteries, and come out on Tuesday and end this thing in one game.”
The Wizards had five players in double figures led by Emeka Okafor with 20 points. Okafor did not play in the fourth quarter when the Pistons went to a smaller lineup. There was good ball movement with 22 assists and the Wizards had a 19-6 advantage in fast-break points. The big problem was on the boards where the Pistons had a 48-32 advantage in rebounds.