AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 19 (Ticker) --
The Washington Wizards'
reward for fifth place in the Eastern Conference is a meeting
with LeBron James
had 33 points and 12 rebounds as the Wizards
clinched the fifth seed with a 96-80 victory over the Detroit
NBA TV highlights from |
added 21 points and Gilbert Arenas
Washington (42-40), which will face James and the Cleveland
Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs. Washington won
three of four meetings between the teams during the regular
"I don't even want to talk about Cleveland," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan
said. "Right now, I just want to recover from the last
week and a half."
Facing the league-leading Pistons, who gave plenty of playing
time to their bench, the Wizards took the lead for good with a
14-0 run in the second quarter. Butler scored 16 points in the
Arenas scored 11 points and Jamison nine in the third quarter,
which ended with the Wizards holding a 72-62 lead.
The Pistons scored the first four points of the final period
before the Wizards used a 12-2 surge to take control for good.
Butler's layup at the 7:33 mark capped the burst and provided an
"We didn't want it to be a game," Jordan said. "We got out to a
comfortable lead and after the timeout I told the guys, 'don't
allow them to make it a game.' They brought some guys off the
bench and I didn't want them to get going and start hitting
threes and going to the free-throw line. We needed to stay
focused and we did."
Butler didn't seem to mind that the Pistons treated the game
like an exhibition.
"It's big," Butler said. "But now we know we have to go on to
Cleveland. We have to go out there and play hard with
scored 17 points for Detroit (64-18), which set a
franchise record for wins during the regular season and will
face Milwaukee in the first round. The Pistons won three of
four meetings between the teams during the regular season.
"Whether we play well or don't play well come Sunday, will have
no bearing on how we've done this season," Detroit coach Flip Saunders
said. "As I recall, we lost our last couple games in
the exhibition season and got off to a pretty good start in the
regular season. These guys have been there.
"We've been looking forward to the playoffs since the end of
last season," said Pistons guard Richard Hamilton
, who scored
Detroit played without Chauncey Billups
, who is second on the
team in scoring at 18.5 points per game.