'Good for the spirit': Pistons pummel Wizards to end five-game skid

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit — After losing five straight games, the Pistons got what they needed.

The cure for a long losing skid is an easy win. By the end of the third quarter on Thursday night, the Pistons already had scored a game’s worth of points.

That made the fourth quarter a formality.

Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) shoots against Wizards guard Ish Smith (14) during the first half on Thursday.

The Pistons had one of their best offensive performances of an otherwise dismal season, cruising past the Washington Wizards, 132-102, at Little Caesars Arena and turning a troubling trend with a win over a struggling team.

BOX SCORE: Pistons 132, Wizards 102

The 132 points tied a season high and their 106 points after three quarters were more than the Pistons had scored in 11 complete games this season.

“It was good for the spirit of the team. I thought we did some good things during the first part of the game defensively,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We wanted to take away the transition defense and we did that. I thought the ball movement was good playing through Blake (Griffin) in the post. So, again, a lot of good things. Now we got to carry on the road and a tough road trip.”

The Wizards (9-21) surprisingly had won the first two meetings this season, but the Pistons (12-20) turned the tables, building a 20-point lead at halftime and ending their five-game skid with a convincing victory. The win gives them a boost heading into their six-game western trip beginning Saturday at San Antonio.

Christian Wood had 22 points and seven rebounds and Tim Frazier had 17 points and six assists. Blake Griffin added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Andre Drummond 14 points and 10 rebounds.

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The Pistons built a 31-23 lead after the first quarter but pushed it to double digits after a 3-pointer by Derrick Rose (15 points and six assists). They extended the lead later in the period, with an 11-3 run, including seven points by Bruce Brown (12 points, five rebounds and five assists) and four from Wood.

They finished the quarter with the final six points, with Drummond splitting a pair of free throws, Tony Snell hitting a 3-pointer and Drummond getting a putback just before the buzzer, for a 68-48 lead.

“I thought we just did all the little things tonight,” Griffin said. “We were pretty resilient. With stretches where we weren’t making shots, we came down defensively and did what we were supposed to do, got out on the open court and made some easy ones and saw the ball go through.”

The Pistons put it away in the third quarter, with another 28-15 run in the first eight minutes, sparked by a 14-4 flurry. Griffin and Wood had four points each and Frazier hit a 3-pointer.

Entering the fourth quarter, the lead was 106-76; the 106 points were as many as the Pistons had scored in 14 games this season.

“We didn’t play well and they had a great game,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “They came back healthy and their bigs were a handful. We put so much attention to them and their guards were feisty and making us not get into a good rhythm offensively, turning it over and we had fouling in the third quarter. They played well; we didn’t.”

Here are more observations from Thursday's game:

► Frazier got his second straight start and had his best game of the season, going 5-of-8 from the field, including 5-of-6 on 3-pointers. He was a nice fit in the starting lineup, even with Brown’s return after missing the game against the 76ers on Monday. He might just stay in that role, providing some consistency and experience as a point guard.

► Rookie Louis King, who is spending a few days with the Pistons until the G-League season resumes for the Grand Rapids Drive, made his NBA debut and had two points, a rebound and a steal in four minutes. He was active around the ball on both ends of the court and didn’t look out of place. After his basket, he knocked the ball away, resulting in a delay-of-game violation — and it being the Pistons’ second of the game, was a technical foul.

► The Pistons had eight players score in double figures and got some rest for their starters, with Drummond and Griffin at 25 and 26 minutes, respectively. It was a good opportunity to get the reserves more minutes, given the lopsided score. Spreading the playing time around was a benefit, too, ahead of the long road trip.

Wood made the most of his minutes, posting his second-highest scoring output of the season. The Wizards were short-handed and against their second grouping, Wood was able to get on the boards and get aggressive from a scoring standpoint. He looked good in his second game back from a knee injury and had some of the bounce and athleticism back.

► The offense was clicking, with 54 percent on field goals and 40 percent (19-of-48) on 3-pointers. The Pistons had 32 assists on their 46 field goals, with good ball movement from the starting group and second unit. They had 14 turnovers, which is fewer than they had been averaging.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard