Pistons at Wizards Game Preview - December 28, 2013
Regular Season Game #32The Detroit Pistons' road success was brought to at least a temporary halt by a sub-par opponent.
Visiting a Washington Wizards team likely without Bradley Beal could provide them a good opportunity for a quick recovery.
Detroit seeks its eighth road win in 10 tries Saturday night against the Wizards. The Pistons (14-17) had won seven of eight away from home and three in a row prior to Friday's 109-92 loss at Orlando - which had dropped five straight at home.
They were uncharacteristically outscored 58-48 in the paint and have allowed 54.5 points in the paint while losing three of four. They had limited teams to an average of 41.4 points in the paint in their previous 27 games.
The starting frontcourt of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith combined to go 10 of 34 from the field with 21 points Friday. Detroit's 41.1 field-goal percentage was the club's worst over its last 12 games.
"From the start of the game, we just couldn't get anything going," coach Maurice Cheeks said. " ... We couldn't get anything going offensively, they pushed the ball down our throat defensively, and then we didn't make any shots."
Monroe - who was just 3 of 9 with six points - is averaging 22.0 points and 15.0 rebonds over his last three games versus Washington. He finished with 24 and 16 in a 113-102 season-opening home win on Oct. 30 - the Pistons' 15th in 17 meetings. Detroit shot 50.0 percent from the floor while claiming a 56-28 advantage in points in the paint.
The Wizards (12-14) are averaging just 92.3 points during their struggles versus Detroit and could be again offensively challenged Saturday without Beal.
Beal, who was playing in just his fourth game since returning from a stress fracture in his right leg, exited with a left leg injury in the fourth quarter of Friday's 120-98 loss at Minnesota. He scored 14 points in 26 minutes before hitting the ground after he was caught on a screen and had to be helped to the locker room.
X-rays came back negative, though he's scheduled for an MRI on Saturday. "I was just trying to really get up and I really couldn't get up," Beal said. "Was hoping it wasn't anything too serious or too crazy. I mean, I was able to put a little weight on it afterwards. Just have to see with the MRI tomorrow."
The second-year guard is averaging 19.2 points and is the team's top 3-point shooter, knocking down 45.3 percent from beyond the arc. Washington went 4-5 without him earlier in the season.
"With the knee injuries going on this year in the NBA, you just hope (Beal's) isn't one of those ones that (is) devastating," said John Wall, who scored a game-high 26.
The Wizards are shooting 24.6 percent from 3-point range during a three-game home losing streak. They made 39.5 percent of their 3-point attempts during a 6-2 start at home.
Perhaps Trevor Ariza can help reignite the team's shooting in Washington. He's averaging 21.5 points on 60.0 percent shooting - including a 12-of-23 mark from long distance - over his last four games versus Detroit. He scored a season-high 28 while going 6 of 11 from deep in the season's first matchup.