All-Star weekend appears to be coming at a less than opportune
time for the surging Washington Wizards.
Before heading into the break, they will try to get by a Detroit
Pistons team that’s had their number of late.
The visiting Wizards look to extend their longest winning streak
of the season to five Wednesday night against the Pistons, who aim
for a 13th victory in 15 matchups in this series.
While it’s been an overall disappointing season for Washington
(15-35), coach Randy Wittman’s team has picked up the pace in a big
way over the last week. The Wizards have outscored opponents by an
average of 11.3 points during their run, with all four wins coming
against teams currently sitting inside the playoff picture.
“We hate that the break’s coming up. It’s going to ruin our
momentum,” rookie Bradley Beal told the league’s official website.
“But it’s an opportunity to get some rest, though, and then come
back focused and with the same mentality.”
Washington entered Monday having dropped all 14 road matchups
against fellow Eastern Conference foes before pulling out a 102-90
win at Milwaukee. Beal, playing his second game since missing five
due to a sprained wrist, scored a season-high 28 points off the
bench while Nene posted his third consecutive double-double with 21
points and a season-best 13 rebounds.
“I felt good, my wrist is feeling a lot better,” Beal said.
“Probably the biggest thing is I wanted is to shoot with
John Wall added 14 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who
shot 56.8 percent and limited the Bucks to 37.9 percent. Washington
improved to 4-1 when recording at least 29 assists, with four of
those games coming since Wall made his season debut Jan. 12
following a knee injury.
“That tells the story for us,” Wittman said of the team’s assist
total. “When we’re in the high 20s, we’re pretty good.”
The Wizards, though, could have a hard time keeping things going
against the Pistons (20-33), who have taken four straight and 12 of
14 in the series. Washington, handed an ugly 100-68 defeat during
its last visit to the Motor City on Dec. 21, has gone 9-42 at
Detroit dating to 1987.
The Pistons followed a pair of impressive wins over San Antonio
and Milwaukee with Monday’s 105-86 loss to New Orleans. Detroit was
limited to 35.8 percent from the field, its worst shooting
performance since Dec. 1.
“I think we’ve played some good basketball throughout the week,
but this is a definite step back,” Kyle Singler told the team’s
official website. “We didn’t really play well. Guys feel that.
We’re going to come in … and just get ready for the next game.
It’s very disappointing. You don’t want to play like this. You’ve
just got to move on.”
Rodney Stuckey had 19 points for the second consecutive game
Monday and Greg Monroe, averaging 18.7 and 12.6 rebounds over seven
contests this month, scored 17 to go along with 11 boards.
The Pistons are 14-7 when scoring at least 100 points but 6-26
when failing to reach that mark. The Wizards haven’t allowed
triple-digit points in a season-high nine straight games.
Washington has surrendered an average of 88.0 points over that
stretch, 7.2 below its season mark.