Wizards’ Arenas-Butler Potion Beats Pistons
Washington 110, Detroit 92
WASHINGTON, March 11 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler put a resounding halt to a pair of slides.
Arenas scored 34 points and Butler added 30 as the Washington Wizards ended a seven-game home losing streak against the Detroit Pistons by rolling to a 110-92 triumph.
"It's a big win, just because we didn't drop three in a row," Arenas said.
Washington used a 24-11 charge at the start of the second quarter to build a 52-39 lead.
"It was very important (to establish the offense early)," Butler said. "With teams like Detroit, if you make mistakes they really make you pay for it. We had to really take care of the basketball, which we really did a good job of. We finished in transition. All around, it was a good collective effort."
Reserve guard Tony Delk scored 12 of his 16 points as Detroit shaved its deficit to 59-53 at the break. However, the Wizards took control in the third period when Arenas scored 11, Butler added 10 and Antonio Daniels chipped in seven of his 16 points.
They had separate runs of 8-0 and 11-3, the latter resulting in an 81-64 Washington advantage with 5:20 remaining in the quarter.
"That's the most important thing, that we held the lead," Arenas said. "In this building we've been up by 19, 20 (points) at the half and they threw out the fishing pole and reeled us in. Tonight, we held our ground and stayed consistent."
"Everyone was clicking," said Butler, who shot 10-of-14 from floor. "We know that we have to play that way in order to beat teams like Detroit, Miami and San Antonio. We can't have any flaws. Our offense has to be great and our defense has to be even better."
Rasheed Wallace collected 18 points and nine rebounds for the Pistons, who got no closer than 11 points thereafter en route to their third loss in five games.
Arenas praised the defensive effort on Detroit's four All-Stars, including Chauncey Billups, who was held to just 12 points.
"We didn't let Chauncey (Billups) get into a rhythm," he said. "He's one of those players who hits you with daggers at the end of the game. Rasheed was on fire (early), so we tried to contain him. From that, we just tried to outplay them."
Detroit (49-12), which owns the league's best record and is the only team that has already clinched a playoff berth, missed on the opportunity to tie a franchise record by notching its fifth-straight 50-win season.
"I think that for whatever reason, we think that we can coast to the finish line and not do what we have done all season," Billups said. "We are getting away from what we do and guys are looking far ahead to the playoffs. We have to do the things that we have always done. Teams aren't going to lay down for us."