Pistons-Wizards Preview

The Detroit Pistons have admitted that the latest twists in this

topsy-turvy NBA schedule have affected them, but they won’t be the

more fatigued team in their next game.

The Pistons have enjoyed a welcome day off as they travel to

face the Washington Wizards, who return home to complete a stretch

of three games in as many nights Monday.

Detroit (16-32) is back on the road for the second game of four

on this trip. The Pistons played five away from home against

Western Conference foes, returned home to get routed 88-73 by Miami

on Friday and began this journey with Saturday’s 101-79 defeat at

New York.

Making matters worse, Rodney Stuckey (sore left big toe) and

Will Bynum (virus) were out against the Knicks. Both could return

Monday.

“Everybody is fatigued. They (the Knicks) just came off a

back-to-back like us. That’s never an excuse in this league,”

center Greg Monroe said. “Everybody has to play back-to-back,

triples. It’s never an excuse to blame it on the season.”

Ben Gordon led Detroit with 20 points and Monroe was the only

other Piston in double digits with 12. Detroit shot 36.8

percent.

“The schedule is kind of tough,” Gordon told the Pistons’

official website. “Everybody has their points in this kind of

season where it’s like your body is going to be tired or just

drained. I think that’s what we’re going through a little bit right

now.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to get over the hump. The travel

is crazy. We’ve just got to figure out how to come together, work

through it, get better and win some games.”

Detroit will be out to avenge a 98-77 home defeat to Washington

(11-37) on Feb. 12. The Pistons’ 32.6 percent shooting was their

second-worst mark and the worst by a Wizards opponent all

season.

Washington might not be able to defend as well this time judging

by the way this back-to-back-to-back stretch has gone. The Wizards

allowed Atlanta to shoot 48.7 percent in Saturday’s 95-92 home loss

and Boston to connect at 48.6 percent in Sunday’s 88-76 road

defeat.

Coach Randy Wittman wasn’t happy after his team allowed

unheralded Celtics guard Avery Bradley to make his first seven

shots and score a career-high 23 points.

“I could have scored those layups. I’m being serious,” Wittman

said. “I mean, we didn’t have anybody guarding him. When I was a

player, if you gave me four layups to start the game, I’d have a

pretty good groove on to make some jump shots. He ought to send us

a postcard of ‘Thank you’ or something.”

Washington had 12 first-quarter points for its lowest total

through one period all season. The Wizards made 3 of 22 shots in

the first 12 minutes and trailed by as many as 25 points before

halftime.

Monroe will play for the second time as a professional at the

Verizon Center, where he starred in college at Georgetown. He had

22 points and 14 boards in a 107-105 loss there April 5, 2011.