The Pistons came out lighting the nets on fire, shooting 5-7 from three and 13-23 overall in the first quarter to spot themselves a 10-point lead, 34-24, going into the final three quarters. Brandon Jennings led the charge out of the gate with 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting (3-4 deep). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added nine, combining with Jennings to outscore the Washington Wizards' entire team through 12 minutes.
But the Pistons cooled off considerably after that and had several lapses on defense in the second quarter allowing the Wizards to cut their deficit down to two by the end of the first half.
In the third quarter, there were four lead changes, but thanks to great Jennings play, the Pistons actually extended their lead to three going into the fourth quarter. Jennings had nine more points in the third, giving himself 30 through three, including this extremely All-Star-Game-like play:
The fourth quarter was much like the third quarter with the teams trading baskets throughout (7 more lead changes), but without the Jennings points. Instead it was a Butler who scored a lot and it wasn't new Pistons sharpshooter Caron Butler, who once averaged 19 points per game in his career with the Wizards.
Midway into the fourth quarter, it was instead Rasual Butler -- yes, Rasual Butler -- who scored nine straight points for the Wizards. The Pistons would re-take the lead a couple times, but they were brief, as the Wizards continued to answer.
John Wall's jumper with 1:11 remaining would prove to be the game-winning shot. While Jennings had a great game with 32 points on 11-19 shooting to go along with 10 assists and only two turnovers, Wall finished with 27 points and 11 assists.
With 22 seconds left, Kyle Singler had a chance to cut a three-point lead to one, but missed a free throw, a common theme for the Pistons thus far this season. (Ironically, the Pistons had one of their better games at the line, hitting 18-of-22.)
The Wizards missed a couple free throws of their own, though, including one with four seconds remaining to possibly give the Pistons a chance to tie the game with a clutch three, but, with no Andre Drummond on the floor, Paul Pierce was able to tap the rebound out to R. Butler (not our Butler). Butler was fouled and hit both free throws to put the Wizards up four and for good.
Analysis and more in a minute (or tomorrow maybe).
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