Climbing over .500 seems like climbing Mount Everest right now. For the third time this year, the Wizards had the chance to get over .500 for the first time in John Wall's career but fell, this time 104-98 to the Pistons. John Wall assuredly did his part, posting a huge line of 34 points on 15/23 shooting, and dishing out six assists. The Wizards had an eight point halftime lead but couldn't make it hold up as their third quarter woes continued. The Pistons outscored the Wizards 33-22 in the third frame. They took the lead with 5:33 to go in the third and never relinquished it, as the Wizards would tie the game multiple times but never get over the hump. The key moment in the fourth quarter came when the Wizards cut the lead to one with 5:31 to go on a Wall jumper. The Wizards would get back to back stops without being able to score before committing a bad turnover in the backcourt which led to a Jennings to Drummond alley-oop finish. The Wizards would turn it over again on the ensuing possession on a Nene travel and Stuckey hit a pair of free throws to put the Pistons up five. The Wizards would never get that close again.
The Wizards shot the ball pretty well from the field at 48.7%, but struggled from the free throw line, shooting just 55.2%. Beal and Ariza really struggled in the loss, shooting a combined 3/21 from the field. The Pistons also controlled the boards, outrebounding the Wizards by nine, led by Drummond and Monroe. Martell Webster had a nice game, scoring 15 points on 6/8 shooting and Nene added 14. Josh Smith led the Pistons with 22 points and both Drummond and Monroe had double-doubles. The Wizards will have a chance to get back to .500 on Monday afternoon against Philly. - Jacob Raim
If it feels like we were just here, that's because we were. Checking back in from Verizon Center, where we last left you last night after another Wizards win.
The Bulls have left town and the Pistons have entered after they lost last night at home to the Jazz.
If the Wizards are looking for some extra motivation, they should take a look at their record. At 19-19, they have another chance at moving over .500, which would symbolize the progress being made here in DC. They had their first chance against Milwaukee at 9-9 and lost here at home and then had another chance at 14-14, but lost at home to the Mavericks on New Year's Day. Hopefully the third chance will be a charm as the Wizards look to surpass the .500 mark for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
While Randy Wittman probably doesn't care too much about being a game above or below .500, what he does care about and has mentioned in the past is winning series against Easter Conference teams. The Wizards beat the Pistons twice in a home-and-home series back in the end of December and lead the season series, 2-1. A win tonight would give them the season series against another Eastern Conference team (they've already secured the season series against both New York and Brooklyn). When these teams are fighting for playoff spots, those tie-breakers could come into play and since these are the teams they will be playing against in the playoffs, any extra confidence the team can gain from these wins could go a long way.
Randy Wittman talked about playing back-to-backs and while he did say he'd rather play them at home than on the road, he'd still prefer having a day off in between games. But, the Wizards have a 6-3 record on the second night of a back-to-back this season and have shown little signs of fatigue. The Wizards have used eight players for a majority of the minutes in the last three games, but we'll see if they need to get a little deeper tonight against Detroit.
Trevor Booker has given the Wiz a real lift off the bench since Nene moved back into the starting lineup and has reached double figures in each of the last two games. He made 11 straight shots over three games and will likely be relied upon heavily tonight against a great rebounding team in Detroit.
In their last two meetings, the Wizards combined to outrebound the Pistons, 88-81, which was a big reason they were able to sweep the home-and-home. Detroit enters the game 6th in the NBA in rebounds per game (45.1), while the Wizards are 22nd (42.4). The Pistons lead the NBA in offensive rebounding, averaging 14.6 offensive boards per game, and had 18 offensive boards in their last meeting with the Wizards. Andre Drummond, who ranks third in the NBA in rebounds per game (12.7) and first in offensive rebounds (5.2), had seven offensive boards the last time they played. The Pistons had beaten the Wizards seven straight times before the Wizards swept the home-and-home, and rebounding will be a big factor in determining if the Wizards can win the season series.
We get going at 7pm from Verizon Center. We'll see you in the Live Chat.
And check out these cool "Wizards" at tonight's game. Remember it's #WizPistons tonight on social: