Washington 106, Detroit 99, Game 28 of 82 (Wizards 14-14)
Saturday night, Washington looked good in a home victory against Detroit. Monday night, the Pistons get an opportunity for some hit-back in their own arena. A Washington win would get them level at .500 for the season.
Detroit showed their strengths in the first three quarters, scoring nearly at will in the paint. Washington had its issues early, but key contributions from the Wizards’ bench and John Wall helped the team overcome a 12-point third quarter deficit to take a road win over the Pistons.
Washington shot 50% from the field, and tallied 42 rebounds, 25 assists on 39 baskets, 11 steals, 15 turnovers and 2 blocked shots. John Wall led the team with 29 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. He hit 14 of 15 foul shots, including 3 of 4 in the last 25 seconds to seal the win. Trevor Ariza added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Detroit (14-19) shot 43.9% from the floor, and totaled 43 rebounds, 26 assists on 36 baskets, 9 steals, 16 turnovers and 2 blocked shots. Six Pistons scored in double figures, led by Greg Monroe’s 22 points and 10 rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 17. Andre Drummond and Josh Smith added 16 points apiece, and Drummond grabbed 16 rebounds.
Washington actually led 32-31 at the end of a fast-paced first quarter. Detroit came out with a lot of energy, especially Drummond and Monroe in the paint. Drummond had four points and two rebounds in the first 97 seconds. Monroe followed up with seven points and four rebounds of his own in the first. Detroit scored 20 of its 31 in the paint in the period, as they repeatedly went at Marcin Gortat and Trevor Booker. Ariza’s ten points and four rebounds kept Washington in the game. Wall added nine points in the quarter.
The Pistons outscored the Wizards 31-20 in the second quarter. Caldwell-Pope and Monroe set the pace. Caldwell-Pope scored 11 in the quarter, while Monroe added six points. Detroit’s 19-6 run turned a 43-41 deficit into a 60-49 lead with 2:13 left in the half. In the first half, Detroit outscored Washington 20-14 in paint points, and the Pistons had 20 second-chance points to only 2 for the Wizards. With Detroit holding a 14-4 advantage in offensive rebounds in the half, the Pistons looked to be the more determined team. The half ended with Detroit leading 63-53. Washington was definitely facing an uphill battle in the second half. One bright spot for the Wizards was that nine different players scored in the half, led by Ariza’s 13 and Wall’s 11. Caldwell-Pope scored all his points in the first half, and Monroe added 13 with 7 rebounds.
The third quarter started with each team struggling to execute their respective half-court offensive sets. Washington was able to cut the Detroit lead to 68-64, on a Bradley Beal jumper with 7:04 left in the quarter. Later, Brandon Jennings’ jumper pushed the Detroit lead back out to 81-69 with 3:08 left in the period. At the end of three, Detroit led 87-78. Over the first three quarters, Detroit outscored Washington 44-22 in the paint. Would Washington seal off the lane enough in the fourth quarter to get a
The answer was “yes”. Washington was able to outscore Detroit 10-6 in the paint in the final quarter. Martell Webster got a layup, then Kevin Seraphin scored consecutive buckets to cut the Detroit lead to 87-84 with 9:58 left. Detroit kept up the pressure offensively, but shots that went in earlier went awry in the fourth. Webster’s three-pointer gave Washington an 89-87 lead at the 9:04 mark. Even as Detroit pushed back, Washington kept its’ poise on offense. Nene’s jumper with 1:46 left put the Wizards up 101-96. Wall’s skillful handling of the offense led the way down the stretch. He assisted on Nene’s jumper, and later scored the last five points for Washington to lock down a win that leveled the Wizards’ record at 14-14.
The Wizards go home for a three-game home stand. First up is the feisty Dallas Mavericks on New Year’s Day, followed by Toronto (Friday, 3 January) and Golden State (Sunday, 5 January). Dallas (18-13) had to grind out a win at Minnesota, with small forward Shawn Marion scoring 32 points. They like to run as well, and Dirk Nowitzki is a handful for opposing forwards. I’d expect the Wizards to come out with a high level of intensity as well. Wednesday’s game will be a great way to start 2014 – with a new year and a new mindset around the Wizards’ organization.
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