Coach Stan Van Gundy lamented a lack of bench production in a November loss to the Washington Wizards, previewing what would become a troubling trend the playoff-hopeful Detroit Pistons set out to reverse before the trade deadline.
Desperate to spark a postseason push, the Wizards added the volatile Markieff Morris.
A day after both teams made significant moves, the visiting Pistons look to avoid a season high-tying fourth straight defeat Friday night (6:30 pregame, 7 tipoff on FOX Sports Detroit) when the Wizards go after their second consecutive victory to begin a stretch of three games in as many nights.
Van Gundy complained Detroit’s reserves "didn’t do anything" after they were outscored 51-15 by Washington’s bench in a 97-95 home loss Nov. 21. It has been a common theme for the Pistons, who rank near the bottom of the league with 26.4 bench points per game.
Sitting a half-game out of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, they sought to bolster their depth by acquiring forward Tobias Harris from Orlando on Tuesday and big man Donatas Motiejunas and guard Marcus Thornton from Houston in a three-team deal on Thursday.
Harris is averaging 13.7 points after scoring a career-high 17.1 in 2014-15, while Motiejunas started 62 games last season but has only appeared in 14 following off-season back surgery. Thornton is averaging 10 points over his 47 contests.
"Every move we make, we hope, helps us in the present. We’re trying to win as much as we can," Van Gundy told the team’s official website in the wake of Thursday’s trades.
Detroit, which hasn’t reached the postseason since 2009, will try to avoid its first four-game losing streak since dropping the last four of a six-game road swing in November.
The Wizards (24-28) have an opportunity to move within one game of the ninth-place Pistons after opening back-to-back-to-back games with Thursday’s 103-89 home win over Utah in a rescheduled contest from Jan. 23 because of a snowstorm.
Marcin Gortat led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds and John Wall contributed 17 points and 11 assists as Washington won for only the fifth time in its last 14 games.
Now the club hopes to have Markieff Morris, twin brother of Detroit’s Marcus Morris, after acquiring him from Phoenix on Thursday. The forward gets a fresh start after he was suspended for two games in December after throwing a towel at then-coach Jeff Hornacek and got into a physical altercation with a teammate during a game last week.
He’s played well of late, averaging 20.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in his last five games.
"We needed someone who will play with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove," general manager Ernie Grunfeld said. "… he’s that type of player."
Wall finished with eight points on 4-of-11 shooting at Detroit (27-27) in November, but he’s averaged 25.8 on 54.3 percent shooting in his last four home meetings.
Washington did a solid job against All-Star Andre Drummond in that contest, limiting him to eight points and 13 boards. He’s averaging 14.6 and 14.1 over seven straight double-doubles.
Detroit’s Reggie Jackson, who had 20 points and nine assists, is expected to return from a one-game absence due to an illness. Backcourt mate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will likely be back after missing the past four because of a core muscle strain.