Hallelujah!!! The nightmare is over as the Wizards snap their six game losing streak by beating the Pistons 99-95. The Wizards were up by 21 early in the third quarter but squandered the lead and were able to hang on late. Let’s see if this win can lift the monkey of the team’s back and they can get back to their winning ways.
The Wizards looked very focused and intense during shoot around and that carried into the game as the team started off 5-5 from the field and took and early 12-4 lead. Paul Pierce hit two open three pointers and big men Nene and Marcin Gortat were able to get some close-in looks. More importantly, this team was not settling for jump shots. I’ve been critical of Nene for doing this but in the first quarter, it was clear that his main concern was getting to the hole. Same with John Wall. He was constantly looking for opportunities to push the ball as the Wizards led 37-27 after the first quarter. It was their highest scoring first quarter of the season.
As a little wrinkle, Coach Randy Wittman opted to start Pierce and Beal with the second unit. Clearly he has not been pleased with the play of Rasual Butler nor Martell Webster and this team has struggled getting scoring from their bench as of late.
Ramon Sessions pushed the ball and found Bradley Beal for a transition 3, three minutes into the second quarter. It was his first bucket back since being injured. Ramon Sessions was solid tonight off the bench as well. He didn’t light up the stat sheet but he did not settle for jump shots and was constantly looking to drive to the hole.
Marcin Gortat had a great first half scoring nine points to go along with 10 rebounds as the Wizards were up 60-44 at halftime.
The Wizards stretched the lead to 21 early in the third quarter and it felt like they would run away with this one. Not so fast. Hot shooting from Anthony Tolliver and Spencer Dinwiddie enabled the Pistons to cut the lead to 13 at the 2:45 mark. Additionally, the Wizards committed five turnovers in the quarter to let the Pistons back in this one.
Detroit ended the third quarter on a 22-11 run and cut the Wizards lead to 10, 80-70.
The Pistons started the fourth quarter on a quick 5-0 run and forced Randy Wittman to call a timeout at the 10:37 mark. Coach reinserted the starters earlier than usual because let’s face it; they needed to snap this streak. The Wizards started the quarter on a scoring drought and didn’t score their first bucket of the quarter until the 8:30 mark when John Wall scored on a 360 layup.
The Pistons had an answer. Spencer Dinwiddie shot a long two pointer but no one boxed him out and he followed it up with a dunk. The Pistons took the lead 85-84 midway through the fourth quarter. The teams began trading baskets down the stretch.
At the 10 second mark with the Wizards up one, Bradley Beal went to the line and was able to stretch the lead to three. He made the first free throw but missed the second. Gortat was able to tap it back out to John Wall who was fouled. He would go on to make the free throws and the Wizards hang on 99-95 for their first win since the All Star break.