Thursday, February 28, 2013

D-TROIT-BASKET-BALL!

The Detroit Pistons had owned the Washington Wizards this season, winning all three previous contests between the two teams. And if that wasn't enough, Detroit had won 14 of their last 16 meetings with Washington. Tonight, the 22-37 Pistons paid their final visit to the Verizon Center, looking to sweep the season series with the Wizards. Meanwhile, Washington had won three straight games, defeating Denver and Houston at the Verizon Center over the weekend, before knocking off the Raptors 90-84 up in Toronto behind 20 points from Bradley Beal.

Pistons rookie forward Khris Middleton, who spent three years at Texas A&M, has only played in eight games so far this season. Middleton is also the cousin of former Lakers forward Josh Powell, who is currently with Greek club Olympiacos Piraeus.
Pistons center Viacheslav Kravtsov, a native of Odessa, Ukraine, has averaged 3.5 points over 14 games in his rookie season.
Members of the Pistons, including Kim English, Kyle Singler, and Khris Middleton examine game tape with assistant coach Charles Klask.
Pistons center Greg Monroe played two seasons at Georgetown, before being selected 7th overall by Detroit in the 2010 NBA draft.
Wizards guards Cartier Martin, left, and Garrett Temple, right, practice dribbling with two balls.
Cartier Martin does a passing drill before the game, as Garrett Temple looks on.
The Pistons acquired Spanish point guard Jose Calderon in a three-team deal that sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis.
Pistons rookie center Andre Drummond played one year at UCONN, before being drafted 9th overall by Detroit in last summer's NBA draft. Drummond is currently sidelined with a stress fracture in his spine, but is expected to return in about a week.
A native of Kinna, Sweden, Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko has averaged 5.7 points over 27 games in his third season with the Pistons.
Despite the mild weather in the D.C. area, tonight's game was not a big draw. The official attendance was listed as 14,298, but I think about half that number actually showed up. It was tough to get any fan photos before the game, because there were so few people in the seats until close to tip-off. Even after the game had started, a majority of the fans were centralized in the lower level. Much of the upper levels were completely vacant, making the arena seem even more empty than it already was. One of the ushers had told me around 5 minutes before the game started that there were about three fans for every one of them, meaning there must've been just as many employees as there were fans.

It was a bummer that there wasn't a bigger turnout, because the game was actually pretty entertaining. I only managed to take around 325 photos, which wasn't a real disappointment, considering the diminutive size of the crowd. After handing over my camera for work, I was able to catch the last 5 minutes of the game.

Wizards guard John Wall drives on Pistons guard Jose Calderon
Wizards guard Bradley Beal shoots over Pistons forward Kyle Singler
Wizards guard John Wall brings the ball past the timeline
Wizards guard Martell Webster drives between Pistons forwards Kyle Singler and Jason Maxiell
Wizards forward Trevor Ariza is defended by Pistons forward Jason Maxiell
Wizards guard John Wall is defended by Pistons guard Jose Calderon
Pistons guard Jose Calderon is chased by Wizards guard John Wall
Jose Calderon is swarmed by Trevor Ariza and John Wall
Jose Calderon is surrounded by John Wall and Trevor Ariza
John Wall is sandwiched by Jason Maxiell and Jose Calderon
Washington was down by 9 with 1:48 left to play, but stormed back to cut the Detroit lead to 3 with 34.9 seconds remaining on a Trevor Ariza three-pointer. On the next possession, Jose Calderon made an errant pass that was picked off by Ariza, who was fouled immediately by Will Bynum. After an official review, it was confirmed to be a clear path foul, giving Washington two foul shots, and possession with 12.3 left on the clock. After Ariza sank two clutch free throws, Randy Wittman called a timeout to draw up a final play.

Trevor Ariza sank two free throws to cut the Detroit lead to 96-95 with 12.3 seconds left to play
On the final possession, Wall sets up the play
Bradley Beal had an open lane, but passed up the shot
Trevor Ariza's three-pointer appeared to go through the cylinder, but only brazed the bottom of the net.
With about 5 seconds left on the clock, Bradley Beal drove the lane, but passed up what appeared to be a good opportunity to score, instead kicking the ball out to Martell Webster, who fumbled the pass. Webster, however, was able to bat the ball into the corner, finding Ariza, who was planted for a three-pointer. Ariza's shot caught nothing but net, but did not go through the cylinder, causing some people in the arena to initially believe it had gone in. Even Wizards announcers Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier were fooled, and declared victory for the Wizards, thinking the ball had gone through the net. In reality, Ariza's shot just barely brazed the outside of the net, and the Pistons held on for a 96-95 victory behind 32 points from Brandon Knight. Former Georgetown star Greg Monroe contributed 26 points and 11 rebounds. Jose Calderon only scored 6 points, but doled out 18 assists.

Ariza led the Wizards in scoring with 22 points and 6 rebounds. Bradley Beal added 16 points and 6 boards, as Washington fell to 18-38 on the season.

After a day off on Thursday, Washington will host the Knicks at the Verizon Center on Friday night.