Pistons look to rebound at Washington tonight
Coming off their worst shooting performance of the season, the scuffling Washington Wizards will have to face a team that beat them this past weekend.
Playing their fourth game in five nights, the Wizards look to avoid a second loss in six days to the Detroit Pistons in hopes of averting their longest skid in two-plus years (6:30 p.m. pregame, 7 p.m. tip-off).
Washington (33-26) was in second place in the Eastern Conference on Jan. 27, but has dropped to fifth and just one-half game ahead of Milwaukee after dropping 11 of 13.
The Wizards are averaging 92.5 points in 11 games this month after scoring 100.2 per game in their first 48 contests, and they shot a season-low 32.3 percent in an 89-81 loss in Philadelphia on Friday.
They also went 4-for-17 from 3-point range in their sixth consecutive defeat, furthering their struggles from beyond the arc as they’ve shot only 23.4 percent — well off their season mark of 36.1 percent — during this skid.
"It’s a tough stretch," point guard John Wall said. "The main thing is we have to get back to playing the right way, and until we do that we’re going to keep losing games.
"Everybody has to look themselves in the face and say, ‘What can I do better?’ Not stat-wise, but as a basketball player and a person. ‘What can I do to help this team win?’"
The Wizards have not dropped seven in a row since a string of eight consecutive defeats Dec. 12-26, 2012.
The third of the six losses was a 106-89 defeat in Detroit last Sunday. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 26 points – two shy of matching a career high – in his team’s sixth win in nine games.
Reggie Jackson shook off an 0-for-8 start from the field to add 17 points in his Pistons debut after being acquired from Oklahoma City on Feb. 19.
The Pistons, though, have lost both their games since that victory. Jackson had a team-best 22 points in a 102-93 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday but was 5 of 24 from the field and finished with 16 in a 121-115 double overtime loss to New York on Friday.
Greg Monroe had 28 points and Caldwell-Pope provided 21, but the Pistons (23-35) squandered a five-point lead in the final 32 seconds of regulation.
"We’ve had a lot of these games," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "If you aren’t going to play defense and rebound, that’s going to happen."
The Wizards have dropped five of seven at home, but the Pistons haven’t fared much better on the road of late — their 106-78 rout over Charlotte on Feb. 10 ended a season-high five-game skid there.
Caldwell-Pope had 20 points in Detroit’s latest visit to the nation’s capital, a 107-103 loss on Nov. 12. Brandon Jennings had a team-best 32 and 10 rebounds before suffering a season-ending ruptured Achilles last month.
Wall had 21 points against the 76ers but continue to struggle with his shooting, especially from long range. The Wizards’ leading scorer went 7 of 26 and has connected at 36.0 percent in his last seven games, including a 3-for-23 showing from beyond the arc.
Wall had 10 points on 5-of-16 shooting and missed a pair of 3-pointers last Sunday. He averaged 26.0 points on 48.9 percent shooting in his prior five matchups and had 27 with 11 assists in Washington’s win in November.