Pistons at Wizards Game Preview - January 18, 2014
Regular Season Game #40
John Wall has had to look back to his one year at Kentucky to find the last winning team he's played for. The Washington Wizards have been that bad since drafting him.
Wall will try to help the Wizards extend their winning streak to a season-best four games and move above .500 for the first time in over four years Saturday night against the Detroit Pistons.
Washington (19-19) has won five of seven in moving to the brink of its first winning record since the team was 2-1 on Oct. 31, 2009 - the season before it selected Wall first overall out of Kentucky.
The Wizards have failed in two previous attempts to get above .500 this season, most recently with an 87-78 home loss to Dallas on New Year's Day. Washington shot 37.5 percent from the floor and 20.8 from long range in the defeat.
"I don't know what to think about it. I want to get over it," Wall said of topping the .500 plateau. "I think we get too anxious about it and too nervous and too hyper and we don't come out and play the right way."
Concluding the season series with the Pistons (16-23) could prove timely, especially with Wall averaging 23.0 points and 9.7 assists in three games - two wins - against them.
Wall scored 20 points while dishing out 11 assists in a 106-82 home win over Detroit on Dec. 28, and followed it up with 29 points in a 106-99 victory two nights later to help sweep the home-and-home set. Those wins immediately preceded the loss to the Mavericks.
The point guard comes into this matchup having averaged 22.5 points on 46.2 percent shooting in the last four games. He was instrumental in getting the Wizards back to .500 on Friday, finishing with 23 points and 11 assists in a 96-93 win over Chicago.
A victory Saturday will give Washington its first four-game streak since Feb. 4-11.
The Pistons have dropped seven of nine after a brief two-game win streak ended with Friday's 110-89 home loss to Utah.
"We worked real hard this week, and put a good effort in this week," said center Andre Drummond, who had 10 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. "To come out like we did, we took a step back."
Brandon Jennings is struggling through an erratic stretch, averaging 11.5 points in six games but finishing with 19 in two of them. The guard is shooting 26.8 percent from the floor in that span, including 9 for 35 from beyond the arc. He's struggled over the last two games, totaling 19 points on 8-for-27 shooting and missing eight of nine 3s.
Josh Smith also played poorly against the Jazz, going 1 for 6 from the field and finishing with four points and two rebounds. The forward had totaled 47 points and 24 boards over the two previous games. Smith was 2 of 7 with four points and four rebounds in the Dec. 28 loss at Washington.
Greg Monroe is averaging 21.5 points and 11.0 boards over his last four against Washington, but he struggled Friday, going 1 for 7 for a season-low four points.