The D.C. drought continues: Pistons lost 10th straight at Washington
Three quick observations from Monday afternoon’s 106-100 loss to the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena
D.C. DROUGHT – If you view Washington as a place where nothing gets done, you just might be a Pistons fan. The Pistons extended their longest active road losing streak to 10 games with their Martin Luther King Jr. matinee loss to the Wizards. Their last win in Washington came almost exactly six years ago, a 104-98 decision on Jan. 18, 2014. Josh Smith led the Pistons that day with 22 points. Rodney Stuckey scored 20 off of the bench. Andre Drummond is the only current Piston who was a member of that team. After sizzling shooting for two straight games – the Pistons hit 60.3 percent in their win at Boston and were a cumulative 59.8 percent over the last two – the Pistons went cold in the second half, shooting 33 percent to finish at 43 percent. One other lousy trend continued for the Pistons with the loss. They’re now 3-13 in games that tip off at 2 p.m. or earlier over the last 10 seasons. Dwane Casey was concerned about the early start time before the game and in particular about the Pistons trying to turn a game against the NBA’s 30th-ranked defense into a sprint meet. Bradley Beal scored 29 points and passed Wes Unseld to go into third place on Washington’s all-time scoring list. Derrick Rose led the Pistons with 21 points. Andre Drummond had an eventful day: 18 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots, four steals and nine turnovers.
BULLET DODGED – Just as the Pistons are on the verge of getting Reggie Jackson back – Dwane Casey indicated before the game that he expects it to be this week – it looked like they were about to lose another one to the injured list. Markieff Morris, who missed seven games starting in late December with a sprained foot, limped off before halftime after incurring a jammed right big toe. Morris had two rough outings after returning from his injury absence on Jan. 11, shooting 2 of 19 in losses to Chicago and New Orleans. But for as ice cold as he was in those games, he was that red hot in last week’s wins at Boston and Atlanta. Morris scored 45 points and hit 16 of 24 shots, including 6 of 11 3-pointers. Casey cited Morris’ return as one reason the Pistons had played with such efficiency on offense, specifically for the way his inside-outside scoring threat diversified and stabilized the second unit. Morris re-entered the game late in the third quarter, but after scoring eight points in nine first-half minutes and hitting both of his 3-point attempts, Morris finished with 10 points in 18 minutes but was ejected with 7:06 left after a review upgraded his foul on Davis Bertans to a flagrant-2.
DRAFT CONSEQUENCES – When Sekou Doumbouya was widely considered a top-10 pick in the runup to last June’s draft, many had him pegged as going to the Wizards with the ninth pick. Instead, Washington made the mildly surprising pick to take Gonzaga junior Rui Hachimura. The two would’ve matched up at power forward, but Hachimura has been out since suffering a groin injury when Washington beat the Pistons on Dec. 16 at Little Caesars Arena. Hachimura got off to a promising start, averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds and starting all 25 games in which he’s appeared. Hachimura is nearly three years older than Doumbouya, who turned 19 less than a month ago. Hachimura will be 22 in early February. Doumbouya, after a season-high 24 points at Boston, has hit a speed bump the past two games. He was 1 of 8 in scoring four points in Saturday’s win at Atlanta and came back with six points on 2 of 7 shooting, including 0 of 4 from the 3-point line with two air balls. His baskets came on a transition dunk and a layup off a nice cut where Andre Drummond found him for a layup. He struggled enough that when Markieff Morris was ejected in the fourth quarter, Dwane Casey went small and used Tony Snell at power forward rather than re-inserting Doumbouya.