NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 30th (All times Eastern)
Washington Wizards (13-14) at Detroit Pistons (14-18), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Coming off their largest victory of the season, the Washington Wizards will shoot for a home-and-home sweep of the Detroit Pistons Monday on the road at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Wizards took the opener of this set, 106-82, on Saturday behind a balanced effort that saw all five starters record 10 or more points. John Wall led the way with 20 points and handed out 11 assists, while Marcin Gortat ended with 16 points and both Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal scored 15.
Washington shot 50 percent for the game and scored 25 points off 23 Detroit turnovers.
"I think we just got to keep playing defense first," said Wall, who has scored 20-plus points in a career-high six straight games. "When we play defense first it makes our game a lot better."
Wall is posting an average of 21.0 points, 9.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds in his past 10 contests. Ariza is averaging 15.8 points and 5.7 boards in that time for the Wizards, who posted a season-best 34 assists and have won four of their last five games.
After visiting The Palace, Washington, which is 6-9 on the road, will play three in a row in D.C. versus Dallas, Toronto and Golden State.
The Pistons have lost two in a row and four of five games, and went 1-2 on a recent road trip. In the road loss against the Wizards, Greg Monroe led the charge with 14 points and Brandon Jennings added 13.
Will Bynum and Josh Harrellson ended with 10 points apiece off the bench for Detroit, which made 40.3 percent from the field and was outrebounded by a 46-38 difference. A 14-0 run by the Wizards put the game away and Detroit trailed, 62-41, at halftime.
"I think that was the difference," Pistons head coach Maurice Cheeks said of Washington's run. "We were standing there in that eight, nine point range, and then they hit those threes. We just couldn't recover."
Josh Smith netted four points in defeat and has scored a total of nine points in the last two games after posting 25 on Dec. 23 at Cleveland. Andre Drummond was limited to four points against Washington, but still leads the Eastern Conference with 22 double-doubles and ranks first in the NBA in offensive rebounding (5.2).
In injury news for the Pistons, guard Rodney Stuckey is questionable versus the Wizards with a sore shoulder.
Detroit has lost three in a row at The Palace and is 6-10 in front of the home crowd. It will also host Memphis on this quick homestand before embarking on another three-game trek to New York, Toronto and Philadelphia.
The Pistons had won seven in a row and 15 of the previous 17 meetings with Washington until Saturday's loss. Washington has lost four straight, 11 of 12 and 21 of its last 26 games as the guest in this series.
12/30 11:01:19 ET