Pistons vs. Wizards preview: Sinking into rising Washington

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Five days off after a pair of wins obviously helped the Pistons little, so let's see how a turnaround of less than 24 hours after a despicable home loss does them in D.C. on Saturday night.

Detroit Pistons: (16-23, 9-10 away)
Washington Wizards: (19-19, 9-9 home)
Tip off: 7 p.m. ET

The Pistons travel to play the Washington Wizards for the fourth and final time this season "fresh" off the heels of another Palace shaming, this time at the hands of Trey Burke (!!) and the Utah Jazz. After the game, Maurice Cheeks, man in charge with few answers, said the loss was unexplainable. Maybe one thing. Maybe something else. Nothing you can do about it, I guess.

The Situation

These are teams currently going in opposite directions. The Pistons fell out of the playoff picture last night, one of the easiest pictures to photo bomb in the history of the NBA, and the Wizards are a .500 basketball team with a(nother) chance to go above it for the first time since Oct. 2009.

The Wizards have won three straight games and five of their last seven. If you go back 16 games, they're 10-6, including a pair of convincing wins against the Pistons at the end of last year and a blow-out win vs. the defending champs this past week. When things are clicking, things are clicking and circus shots go in:

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Meanwhile, the circus in Detroit has lost seven of nine, their latest loss seemingly the most lethargic of the bunch. Despite having five days off to build on a pair of wins, the Pistons closed out the final three quarters Friday night like they were on the back-end of a cross-country back-to-back following a demoralizing loss, and somebody must have stink-bombed their bus on the way to the game.

The plus for the Pistons is they're not too far removed from owning the Wizards (15-4 in their last 19 regular season games against them) and the Wiz are 0-2 this year when trying to get over the .500 hump. And the Pistons have been mysteriously better on the road.

Keys to the Game

Defense: Novel concept here: Try to play some of it.

The Trevors: Most wouldn't guess it, but the Trevors -- Ariza and Booker -- are arguably the Wizards' most productive players per minute. Ariza has killed the Pistons in the three games this season, averaging nearly 20 points per game and 54-percent from THREE. Booker was a beast in the Pistons' last loss at the Verizon Center and has played a big role in the Wizards' last two wins.

Moosey Bounceback: Greg Monroe was the worst I can ever remember him on Friday night, shooting from the elbow extended multiple times, making only one basket and earning his fewest minutes played since 2010. It would be nice to see Moose get back on track and not have any more negativity linger with him -- for his sake and hopefully ours.

Question of the Game

I'm afraid to ask.

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