Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pistons Cool Off Wizards

After a 102-90 win over the Bucks on Monday night in Milwaukee, the Wizards traveled to Detroit to take on the Pistons in their final game before the all-star break. The Pistons had been victorious in both the previous meetings between the two teams this season, winning the first of what was a pair of home-and-home contests on the 21st and 22nd of December by 32 points, and the second by the score of 96-87. Since then, Detroit has traded away both Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Grizzlies, while acquiring Spanish point guard Jose Calderon from the Raptors in the same three-team trade that sent Rudy Gay from Memphis to Toronto.

The Wizards were a different team then, as well. John Wall was still out with an injured left knee. Shaun Livingston, who has since been released by the Wizards, and signed by the Cavaliers, was the starting point guard in the first game of the home-and-home, a blowout loss at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Jordan Crawford started the second game the very next night at the Verizon Center, but the Wizards still came up short. Since Wall's return to the lineup, Washington had rebounded from a horrendous 5-28 start, to win 10 of their last 17 games. The Wizards were also in the midst of a 4 game winning streak, their longest of the season, coming into tonight's game at the Palace.

The Pistons led by 2 at the end of the 1st quarter, but it was the Wizards who went into the half with a 45-44 advantage, shooting 51.3% from the field.

Washington led 68-65 at the end of the 3rd quarter, but the Pistons stormed back to take a 6 point lead with 6:28 left in the game. Washington didn't convert a field goal in the final quarter until the 6:04 mark, but came back to tie the game at 76 on a Trevor Ariza layup with 5:07 remaining.

Wizards guard John Wall drives on Pistons guard Jose Calderon (Photo by Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit responded to the Wizards' run with 9-0 run to take an 85-76 lead on a Jose Calderon three-pointer with 2:44 left in the game, and held on for a 96-85 victory, halting Washington's win streak at 4 games.

The Pistons were led by Calderon, who tallied 24 points, including 6 three-pointers, and Will Bynum, who contributed 20 points and 8 assists off the bench.

Emeka Okafor led Washington with 20 points and 9 rebounds, while John Wall added 16 points and 9 assists in the loss.

After a 5 day recess for all-star weekend, the Wizards will resume play on February 19th, hosting the Toronto Raptors at the Verizon Center.