Wizards look to stay physical against Pistons (Dec 16, 2016)

BY AP • December 15, 2016

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards used a physical brand of basketball for an impressive win in their last outing. That approach is required for the middle contest of their three-game homestand with Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons on deck.

The Wizards (10-14) defeated the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night 109-106 in large part to all-around performances from guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. Yet the postgame focus from both locker rooms centered on Washington's aggressive work on both ends of the court after Hornets took a 10-point lead early in the third quarter.

"It was our defensive pressure," Beal said after Washington won for the third time in four games. "We got tired of giving them open 3's in the first half, comfortable shots...In the second half, we just got after it."

Washington got after it on the boards and interior scoring, finishing with a 56-28 points in the paint advantage.

Center Marcin Gortat's presence was felt in those areas, as well as helping free Wall and Beal for open looks. Wall had 25 points, 10 assists and seven steals. Beal scored 18 of 20 points in the second half and finished with a career-high nine assists.

"He did a great job screening," Wall said of Gortat. "He really didn't focus on getting the ball as much, he just did a great job screening and rebounding the ball for us. At the end he set good screens and got an opportunity to get the ball and finish at the rim."

The Wizards will see plenty of Drummond if they attack the rim Friday night in their first meeting against the Pistons (14-13).

Drummond, second in the NBA with 13.7 rebounds per game, grabbed 17 in Detroit's 95-85 victory in Dallas on Wednesday night. The Pistons outrebounded the Mavericks 50-30. They also rallied from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter as the Reggie Jackson-led offense eventually helped Drummond and those defending.

"Our defense kept us around and then we finally had a good offensive quarter in the fourth," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We hung around long enough to give ourselves a chance to have one good quarter."

Reggie Jackson scored nine of his season-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. The guard played six games this season since returning from a knee injury.

"I just got my legs under me," Jackson said. "The encouragement of the coaches and my team just telling me to keep attacking, go downhill and keep making plays."

The matchup reunites twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris. However, Washington played Wednesday without Markieff Morris, who sat with a sore foot. Kelly Oubre Jr. made his first start of the season and scored 15 points.

Marcus Morris is third in scoring behind Tobias Harris (team-high 16.3 points) and Drummond (14.5) with 14.4.