Wizards top Pistons in MLK Day outing
If the Washington Wizards plan on making the playoffs, they’re going to have to jump some teams in the standings.
The players understand this, which is why Monday’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons mattered. Detroit entered the outing with the ninth-best record in the East a game ahead of the Wizards.
The Wizards came ready to play.
Washington cruised to a 101-87 victory in a Monday matinee at Capital One Arena, thanks to a strong defensive effort. The Wizards held the Pistons to just 40.3 percent shooting.
The Wizards entered the afternoon with a defense ranked eighth over their last 10 games all of which have been played without star point guard John Wall. The Wizards’ defense has allowed four fewer points per 100 possessions than their first 35 games in Wall’s latest absence.
Washington, too, knows Wall won’t return this season, but they’ve responded with some of their best basketball of the season.
From the start, the Wizards looked like the better team. Point guard Tomas Satoransky was aggressive, driving to the rim and finding open teammates. Otto Porter came off the bench and launched four shots in five minutes. Washington’s defense, too, was effective allowing just 17 points in the first quarter.
By halftime, the Pistons had shot just 30 percent, including 13 percent from deep, and the Wizards led 50-34. Thirty-four points allowed was a season-best for Washington.
Detroit was limited offensively, outside of star Blake Griffin (29 points). The Pistons were without center Andre Drummond and in general, are a team that struggles on the offensive end. Detroit ranks just 23rd in offense, scoring 105.9 points per 100 possessions.
Forward Trevor Ariza led the Wizards with 20 points.
Before the game, the Wizards honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by having star Bradley Beal give a short address to the crowd.