Revved up Wizards Win in Motor City, Win 97-95

The Detroit Pistons quickly jumped on the Washington Wizards for a 12–4 lead early in the first quarter but that lead was over in a heartbeat when the Wizards launched a run of their own that lasted most of the game. In the end they beat the Pistons in snowy Detroit at the Palace of Auburn Hills, 97-95.

Dominating on both ends of the court, Washington outscored Detroit (22–5) in the first half.  The Pistons attempted a comeback in the second but their starters couldn’t get the job done against a rested opponent.

The Wizards were on a two-game winning streak and a three-day break after beating the Milwaukee Bucks for a second time in Washington, 115-86.

Detroit just ran out of gas after playing back-to-back games, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves(104-99) the night before.  The Pistons’ bench went two for 11 by the half and got outscored by the Wizards, 22-5.

Washington’s starters almost gave away this game if it weren’t for swift bench rotations by Head CoachRandy Wittman.  Point guard John Wall was minus-20 along with guard Bradley Beal, who returned to the line-up last night after missing three games in a row due to a shoulder injury.  Wall had six points by the half and just five assists but finished the night up with eight points, seven assists and two rebounds. Center Marcin Gortat was minus-22 in 26 minutes, with 10 points. But he ended the night with 14 points and eight rebounds. Washington power forward Kris Humphries never scored at all but had five rebounds.

The Wizards needed a spark early in the game and they got one when center NeNe entered the game replacing Gortat.  Off the bench, NeNe went for 9-of-10 from the field for 18 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in 22 minutes.  The NeNe Slam continued when he made an incredible basket on a fast-break “player-of-the-game” moment with a steal, a spin and a coast-to-coast hoop.  Small forward Otto Porter, Jr. added 17 points while point guard Ramon Sessions — who was on fire — had 14 points to help secure a Washington win.  The Wizards’ bench produced 49 of the 97 points for the team.

Pistons’ Head Coach Stan Van Gundy had to keep his starters in longer than usual because the Wizards bench played such a fast running game and kept the pressure deep.  Van Gundy kept his starters; center Andre Drummond, shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and power forwardMarcus Morris all played 37 minutes on back-to-back game nights.

Detroit managed to tie the game at 52 and led midway through the third quarter, 65-58.  The Pistons outscored the Wizards 13 to 0.  Point guard Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 20 points and nine assists. However, Detroit’s momentum was short-lived.  The Wizards cut that deficit down and led by two points by the end of the quarter.

Drummond was under pressure the entire night by Gortat and NeNe.  He was held from picking up another double-double for the first time this season.  He finished with eight points and 13 rebounds.

Caldwell-Pope sunk a 3-pointer and helped to give Detroit the lead (87-85) in the middle of the fourth quarter.  Wizards shooting guard Garrett Temple was there at the other end to answer with one of his own. The Wizards then brought the lead to 94-89 with minutes left in the game.

Drummond missed a two-footer and Gortat dunked on him to bring it to 96-91.  Beal was fouled after Morris missed a three-pointer and made just one of his foul shots. He was three-for-eight on the night. Detroit’s power forward Ersan Ilyasova made a basket and gave the Pistons a lead by two points.

With possession of the ball and 9.2 seconds left on the clock, Porter was called for a five-second violation on an inbound attempt, giving Detroit the ball and an opportunity to either tie or win the game.  Detroit’s Jackson passed up on Drummond, who was open under the basket for Morris to shoot from the perimeter and he missed at the buzzer giving Washington the win.

The Wizards brought the fire to the floor as they grabbed a “three-peat” victory in the Motown City.

The Wizards (6-4) next play on Tuesday, November 24th in Washington at the Verizon Center against the Indiana Pacers at 7:00 p.m.

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