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Wizards can't climb back to beat Pistons, fall 121-112
Tomas Satoransky has been a steadying presence for the Wizards since John Wall went down for the season. Washington found out Monday that he’d miss the team’s meeting with the Pistons (personal reasons), and it forced another rotation adjustment against a team directly in competition for playoff positioning. Detroit got the better of the shorthanded Wizards on the night, dominating in the paint en route to a 121-112 victory in the Motor City.
Chasson Randle made his first career NBA start at the point in Satoransky’s absense (scoring five points in 18 minutes), but success hinged on winning down low. Unfortunately, a lack of rim protection early in the game was a sign of things to come Monday for the Wizards, as Andre Drummond (32 points, 17 rebounds) and Blake Griffin (31 points, nine rebounds, nine assists) dominated around the basket. Detroit out-rebounded Washington by 11, but also outscored the Wizards by 16 points in the paint.
Bradley Beal (32 points, 10 assists, six rebounds), Bobby Portis (24 points off the bench), and Trevor Ariza (23 points) led a capable Wizards offense that shot a solid 50% from the field, but the Pistons were just a little better on the margins Monday. Detroit hit one more three and four more free throws than Washington, controlling the game in other areas along the way.
After trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, the Wizards battled back to close the second quarter and trail by just three. Jordan McRae scored all 10 of his points on the night in the frame, serving as the catalyst for a 23-10 run that gave Washington it’s largest lead of four.
The tides turned back in Detroit’s direction at the outset of the third quarter as the Pistons went on an extended run of their own, 23-12, to re-take a double digit lead. Drummond and Reggie Jackson (16 points on the night), scored 10 and nine points, respectively, in the frame to put the Pistons back into control on their home floor. Jackson hit all three of his 3-point attemps in the third.
From there, the Wizards couldn’t get any closer than eight points down in the final 12 minutes despite a furious scoring effort from Beal and Portis (27 points combined in the fourth). Detroit took care of business down the stretch, hitting all eight of its free throws in the final frame to seal the victory. The Wizards now trail Detroit by three games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, with the Heat and Magic also ahead of them.
The final stop for the Wizards on their three-game road trip will be in Toronto on Wednesday night. Tip-off against the Raptors is set for 7:30 P.M. ET.