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Pistons vs. Wizards preview: Detroit looks to avoid a hole they can’t climb out of in rematch with Washington

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Washington could be without its best player in Bradley Beal

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons staged a furious comeback from 30 points down in the third quarter to get within four Saturday against the Washington Wizards, but eventually ran out of gas down the stretch. Tonight, they look to avoid the huge early deficit altogether and exact a bit of revenge against the Wizards.

For the second time in a row, Detroit will be facing Washington on the second night of a back-to-back. The big difference this time is that the Wizards seem likely to be missing Bradley Beal, who left the first game against Detroit with a hip injury and hasn’t seen the floor since.

Game Vitals

When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit+
Odds: Pistons +2.5

Analysis

The Wizards have dealt with Beal’s absence with a victory and a loss and, unsurprisingly, the final result is pretty well dictated by the kind of performance the team is able to get out of Russell Westbrook. When he can bring 35 points on only 26 shots and deliver 14 rebounds and 21 assists, you get a 132-124 thumping of the Indiana Pacers. When he needs 20 shots to get to his 22 points, you get a 114-104 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

One player who has steadily ascended and played especially well of late is Rui Hachimura. He is averaging 20 points and nearly 8 rebounds on 52.8% shooting in his past 10 games and is a 30-point effort in the loss to the Hornets.

Still, it feels like a game that Detroit only has a chance in if they find a way to contain Westbrook, and being forced to rely on Saben Lee and Cory Joseph for that task seems like it is asking for trouble.

The Pistons, meanwhile, are coming off a largely uninspired performance against the Portland Trail Blazers in a game that saw their rookie class struggle like it seldom has this season.

Saddiq Bey was haunted by early foul trouble and finished 0-of-8 from the floor including missing all seven 3-point attempts. Saben Lee was just 1-of-4 and couldn’t quite penetrate the Blazers’ defense. Isaiah Stewart was up-and-down with another 3-pointer under his belt but some defensive miscues.

The Detroit veterans stepped up to make a game of it before things came off the rails late. It was nice to see Jerami Grant look more confident and shooting in the flow of the offense (though he did force some long jumpers). He had 30 points on 11-of-19 and added four assists. New addition Hamidou Diallo continues to impress on both ends. He routinely does three or four things on defense that make you stand up and take notice, and he knows when to pick his spots on offense. He was 7-of-8 shooting for 19 points and added seven rebounds.

If the Pistons can get something close to those numbers from those vets and at least one of the rookies can have a quality night, the Pistons could win. But, you know, the tank, yadda yadda. The Wizards are the kind of team you want them to lose to. Blah, blah, blah.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (13-34)

Saben Lee, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee

Washington Wizards (17-29)

Russell Westbrook, Deni Avdija, Jerome Robinson, Rui Hachimura, Alex Len

Question of the Game

How long until we start hearing that Detroit Pistons players and staff have been vacinated?