Pistons 115, Wizards 110, OT

After 11 NBA seasons, Richard Hamilton knows his days as an
elite scorer are probably over.

He’s still capable of lighting things up on occasion,
though.

Hamilton scored 12 of his 27 points in overtime in the Detroit
Pistons’ 115-110 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday
night.

”I still enjoy playing this game, and I’m always going to work
hard out there,” said Hamilton, who came into the night averaging
just 12.1 points. ”When they need me, like they did tonight, I’m
going to be ready.”

Hamilton hit five straight jumpers before missing with 23
seconds left in the extra period. He later added two free throws to
give the Pistons a four-point lead.

”We could tell that the Wizards were having trouble guarding
Rip down the stretch,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. ”He had
things going, and we were going to keep getting him the ball.”

Hamilton’s overtime heroics wouldn’t have been possible without
Charlie Villanueva’s performance in regulation. Villanueva had 25
points and 10 rebounds in the first 48 minutes, and also blocked
Gilbert Arenas’ 3-point attempt that would have put the Wizards up
by five with 1:17 left.

”I was just determined to win this game,” Villanueva said.
”In the end, Rip did what we needed from him. He’s been
struggling, so it is always good to see him get going like
that.”

Kuester even got some coaching help from veteran Tracy
McGrady.

”Tracy came up with a play, and we got two huge 3-pointers out
of it in the fourth quarter – Will Bynum got one and Charlie got
one,” Kuester said. ”That’s how you know you are coming together
as a team – when guys speak up in situations like that.”

Wizards rookie star John Wall missed his fourth straight game
because of a sprained left foot. He was on the Wizards’ active
list, and coach Flip Saunders said before the game that he hoped to
get a few minutes out of him, but Wall ended up watching in street
clothes.

JaVale McGee had 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Wizards.
Gilbert Arenas added 19 points and a career-high 16 assists.

”We played a great game, so this one hurts,” Arenas said.
”The blowouts don’t hurt – it is the ones you should have won. We
should have won this, but I had two key turnovers.”

Hamilton’s fifth jumper put Detroit up 112-110 with a minute
left in overtime, and two straight Wizards turnovers let the
Pistons hang on for the win.

”Rip did in overtime what you want your veteran players to do –
he took over the game,” said Wizards coach Flip Saunders, who
coached Hamilton for three years in Detroit.

Washington only scored 17 points in the first quarter, but came
alive against the Pistons’ backup in the second. The Wizards hit
eight of their first nine shots and finished the quarter with 38
points to take a 55-52 lead.

Detroit cut it to 78-77 after three, but Washington took
advantage of the same matchups that had given them the big second
quarter. The Wizards were up 96-89 with 5:17 to go, but Villanueva
answered with his fourth 3-pointer of the game.

Five straight points from Andray Blatche put the Wizards up
102-98 with 1:40 left, but Villanueva’s block led to his tying
layup with 20.9 seconds to go. Blatche had an open 3-pointer at the
buzzer, but missed to set up overtime.

”Charlie has been doing that for us all season,” Hamilton
said. ”He was huge tonight.”

NOTES: The Pistons had to stop a promotion involving their
mascot and a frozen turkey when the thawing bird dripped water in
several parts of the floor. … Arenas and McGee had double-doubles
by the end of the third quarter. … Several Pistons greeted
Saunders – their former coach – before the game, although Ben
Wallace did not. … Detroit’s Austin Daye didn’t play after
starting the last two games.