The Detroit Pistons were able to turn a one-point halftime deficit into a 22-point third-quarter lead. They only needed one more ingredient to secure a much-needed victory — to play a team so bad that not even Detroit could blow the lead. Enter the Washington Wizards.
Washington let the light-shooting Pistons shoot its way into the 22-point lead behind Langston Galloway’s 22 points and Blake Griffin’s 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four 3-pointers.
But the Pistons being the Pistons, they had to at least TRY to choke the game away. A combination of incredibly lazy and sloppy execution led to plenty of turnovers which led to many easy shots at the rim and uncontested at the 3-point line for Washington. The Wizards were +11 in points off turnovers and were a breath away from giving Detroit its latest in a long line of humiliating defeats.
The Wizards were able to cut that 22-point deficit to just three points with about four minutes left in the final frame. However, some point-blank misses and back-iron perimeter shots prevented the Wiz from coming all the way back. Done in at the free-throw line, among other things, in its previous loss to the Atlanta Hawks, it should be noted that the Pistons finished 18-of-19 from the free-throw line.
That includes two clutch free-throws from Andre Drummond with Detroit up just five points and 2:32 to play. Drummond stuffed the box score with with 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, four turnovers, three steals and two blocks.
Washington was fueled almost completely by its athletic backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal. When Wall decided like he gave a shit he was usually able to easily get past his defenders. Beal, meanwhile, used open catch-and-shoot opportunities and the threat of drives and cuts to create space. Both Wall and Beal finished with 21 points.
Other things to note:
- Bruce Brown got the start at shooting guard, and while that was a nightmare for Detroit’s spacing he did provide some defense and energy ... I guess.
- Luke Kennard was a (healthy?) scratch. He needs to get out of his funk, and Dwane Casey needs to trust his young guard. There is no math where Detroit is successful without serious contributions from Kennard.
- Jon Leuer continues to be sneaky good in the rotation but with a play or two thrown in that is just super embarrassing and makes you question why you ever believed in him.
- Jose Calderon continues to be washed, and it makes me extremely sad.