DETROIT (NBA.com exclusive) -- The Detroit Pistons are missing injured players Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, linchpins of the powerhouse teams of the last five or six seasons.
But they aren't letting this become an issue.
That's because the new acquisitions over the summer are stepping in and playing like they were expected to perform.
This was the case as the Pistons won for the third time in a row, beating the Washington Wizards on the road 106-103.
Guard Ben Gordon scored a game-high 29 points -- blistering the Wizards from long range on 5-of-8 shooting from behind the 3-point line -- and Charlie Villanueva added 25 points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Both were acquired over the summer.
The Wizards, who lost for the sixth time in a row, fell behind by 13 points in the first quarter, made a late run and actually led by 95-89 after newly acquired point guard Early Boykins (20 points) hit a driving layup with 5:04 to play in the fourth quarter.
But the Pistons clamped down defensively the rest of the way, holding the Wizards to just one more field goal, a Gilbert Arenas 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds to play, that just made the final score more respectable.
"They came out with a run in the third quarter and we stayed poised," Villenueva said of the Wizards, who started the third quarter on a 29-11 run to go from trailing 55-47 to lead 76-66. "But we feel like we're never out of any game. We fought hard and pulled out a gutsy win. We didn't feel like we were ever out of it."
Not with the Wizards committing six turnovers in the fourth quarter and with Gordon and other Detroit guards taking command of the game late. Gordon scored 10 points in the quarter, Will Bynum (20 in reserve, six in the fourth) and Rodney Stuckey combined to score 18 of Detroit's 28 points in the quarter.
A team in an offensive rut heading in to the Detroit game -- the Wizards had scored 90 points just twice in the last five games -- Washington is still a work in progress. Mike Miller, back for the first time after missing three games with a shoulder injury, started and contributed 20 points. After losing Randy Foye (ankle) in a loss at Miami, the Wizards signed Boykins and the diminutive 5-foot-5 guard provided a boost with 20 points.
And while they got a double-double out of Arenas (19 points, 10 assists), it becomes clearer with each passing game that the Wizards miss the guidance and leadership of Antawn Jamison, out the entire season so far with a right shoulder subluxation.
However, Jamison did not play against Detroit not because of the shoulder injury but because of a virus that kept him away from Verizon Center. The team hopes that Jamison will make his healthy debut Wednesday when Cleveland pays the Wizards a visit.
"We'll be glad to get him back as soon as possible," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said. "He's a very important part of what we plan on doing. You know what he's capable of and so do we. Can't wait to see him out there."
Boykins looked like the team's best player against Detroit. The Wizards brought him in not just because he is a vet, but also because he has played with both Arenas and Jamison before in Golden State. Boykins doesn't believe the adjustment will be difficult.
"It's easier playing with Gil because he's someone that I know," Boykins said. "I have to develop the same kind of chemistry with the other guys. It's all basketball. No matter when you join a team everyone basically runs the same plays. It's just a matter of getting comfortable with my teammates."