Flip Saunders decided the Van Andel Arena court was not too wet after all for his injury prone star, so Gilbert Arenas started.
And then he dominated.
He proved to be too much for the Pistons and was the key in building a lead big enough for his team to sustain in the fourth quarter.
Arenas netted 24 points on 9-11 shooting in just under 28 minutes of action. The Wizards led by as many as 13 points when Arenas was in the game and by seven when Arenas saw his last action of the night after the third quarter. Thanks to monster dunks from Michigan native (and my high school), JaVale McGee, the Wizards were able to hold off the Pistons' fourth quarter push and prevail 101-98.
Detroit had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with under 20 seconds to go, but Ben Gordon turned the ball over forcing the Pistons to foul and fall even further behind. After Washington hit four free throws (with a Gordon miss mixed in there), Austin Daye nailed a three with just under two seconds left to pull the Pistons back within three, but there wasn't enough time on the clock to pull off the miracle comeback at that point.
For the first time this preseason, the Pistons found themselves fighting an uphill battle. They were shooting just 39% at the half, yet were only down one point. That, to me, is somewhat comforting. For playing a team that many "experts" think will leap frog the Pistons in the Eastern Conference this year, they battled tough despite clearly having an off night with their strokes.
The Pistons' quartet of guards shot a combined 36% (19-53), so on nights like these, it'll be nice having Charlie Villanueva pick up some of the scoring slack. It'll be nice having him help out no matter what kind of shooting nights these four have, but you know what I'm saying.
Some other notes/thoughts:
- Tayshaun Prince did not return after halftime due to a cut on his big toe. Man stuff. He was having a pretty good game, so it's too bad he didn't return.
- Detroit hung with the Wizards in every facet of the game really. They were outrebounded and assisted, but only by three and four respectively. Detroit had more steals, less turnovers, and out-shot the Wizards from three-point land, 41% to 27%.
- Will Bynum fought through his early struggles and scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half. The Wizards radio announcers were loving them some Will Bynum.
- Kwame Brown, Ben Wallace, Chris Wilcox, and Jason Maxiell put up some good numbers again. A combined 7-14 shooting (21 points) and 21 rebounds. Butler, Jamison, and McGee combined for 39 points for the Wizards, though. Kwame had his second near double-double of the preseason with nine points and 11 rebounds.
- I get the feeling that Coach Q played Jonas Jerebko a lot tonight to allow himself a good look to figure out if this kid is a serious candidate for playing time this season. In 27 minutes, Jerebko had nine rebounds and nine points.
- Austin Daye showed off the three point shot, as he was 2-2 from beyond the arc. He had 10 points in just about 15 minutes.
- DaJuan Summers did not play. Coach's decision according to the box score.
- Detroit falls to 3-1 on the preseason and return to action on Thursday against the Mavs in Dallas. This game will be on NBATV.
- For Wizards coverage, you can meander over here.
- No highlights up on NBA.com as of an hour after the game. I'll put them up here as they become available.