New-look Pistons open up with win over Wizards
Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Greg Monroe tallied 24 points and 16 rebounds to help the Detroit Pistons to a 113-102 win over the Washington Wizards in the season opener for both teams.
Prized offseason acquisition Josh Smith filled the stat sheet with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists for Detroit, which has had Washington's number of late. The Pistons improved to 17-3 in the last 20 meetings with the Wizards.
"It's the first game," said Monroe. "We have a lot to clean up, but I think we did a good job tonight."
Will Bynum started for Brandon Jennings, who will miss the first week of the season after undergoing treatment for impacted wisdom teeth earlier this month, and registered 19 points and five assists in the victory. Jennings came to Detroit in a deal that sent former No. 7 overall pick Brandon Knight to Milwaukee.
Andre Drummond had 12 points and eight boards on an efficient 6-of-7 from the floor in Mo Cheeks' debut behind Detroit's bench.
"There will be minutes that we're going to be good, that's how basketball is," said Cheeks, who previously coached Portland and Philadelphia. "I don't think it's just opening night. It's going to be like that throughout the season."
Trevor Ariza and John Wall both went for double-doubles in the defeat. Ariza sank six triples en route to a game-high 28 points and added 10 boards, while Wall needed 21 shots for 20 points with 11 assists.
Marcin Gortat, who was acquired by the Wizards last week in a deal that sent Emeka Okafor to the Phoenix Suns, had nine points and nine boards off the bench but was limited by foul trouble.
"We continued to battle and kept fighting to stay in it," said Wizards head coach Randy Wittman. "You do not go out and play this game and hope to win. To win games in this league you have to go out with a purpose."
Detroit held a comfortable lead throughout the second half but saw the edge dwindle early in the fourth quarter with its bench unit on the floor. The Wizards netted four straight on a pair of Martell Webster free throws and a Gortat tip-in to claw to within four at 89-85 with 7:43 remaining, but Kyle Singler brought the home crowd to its feet with a difficult three-point play on the other end.
The Pistons dominated the game from that point on, aided by veteran and former Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, who deposited 10 of his 16 points in the final frame. Detroit made 13-of-14 free throws down the stretch, with Billups and Bynum hitting four apiece.
Big men were the story early on, as Drummond threw down a number of thunderous dunks in the opening 12 minutes to the delight of the Pistons' faithful and Washington center Nene hit 3-of-4 mid-range jumpers.
Washington trailed 25-22 after the opening quarter, but dug itself a hole in the second. Singler and Eric Maynor traded triples in the early stages of the period, but Monroe's assertion inside and the spark rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope provided off the bench had the Pistons ahead 55-43 at intermission.
The Wizards have lost 11 of their last 12 games in Detroit ... Billups shot 4- for-5 from behind the arc in his return to the Pistons after spending the last four-plus seasons with Denver, New York and the LA Clippers ... Brad Beal had 17 points for Washington on 6-of-18 from the field ... Detroit outscored the Wizards in the paint, 56-28.
10/31 00:27:19 ET