Pistons stumble in fourth quarter, see short-lived win streak snapped vs. Wizards
Washington, D.C. — The streak is over.
That is, if winning two straight games counts as a streak.
Either way, the Pistons had a shot at their first three-game win streak of the season and came up short, falling to the Washington Wizards, 106-100, on Monday afternoon at Capital One Arena.
After playing two of their best games of the season, the Pistons were looking to take their third straight on the road. A rough fourth quarter did them in, as the Wizards won the season series, 3-1, and won the 10th straight head-to-head meetings at home.
Derrick Rose had 21 points — his ninth straight game with 20-plus points — Andre Drummond 18 points, 16 rebounds and nine turnovers, and Tony Snell 16 points for the Pistons (16-28), who next play at home against the Sacramento Kings.
The Pistons had 17 turnovers in the game and after shooting a sizzling 67 percent from the field in the first quarter, cooled to 52 percent by halftime. After their offense was humming in the previous two games, they couldn’t keep the momentum going.
“We missed some easy shots and that’s going to happen, but we got out of character and turned it over and didn’t move the ball the way we did the first quarter,” coach Dwane Casey said. “In the first half, we had 11 assists and went up at 18 (for the game), so in the second half, the ball stopped moving.
“Some of that was missed shots, but you can't get bored with moving the basketball sharing the basketball, attacking the basket, kick-out, the ball playing inside out, all those things where the shooters can get a rhythm.”
The Pistons opened the fourth quarter with two straight baskets, including a hesitation move by Rose and a dunk by Svi Mykhailiuk (10 points), taking an 85-83 lead. The Wizards (14-28) answered with a 12-2 run, including a 3-pointer and reverse from Ian Mahinmi, who had 21 points.
Mahinmi’s 3-pointer was unexpected, as he’s normally an interior player, but Casey cited his contribution as an advantage.
"He killed us. He really worked us and did a heck of a job. So I know 21 points, that's a big night. He's really improved his offensive game, but he's so smart as a defender,” Casey said. “He knows the angles and he knows how to cut plays off.
“He knows how to protect the rim. He's a very, very smart player so he really hurt us. You expect that from (Bradley) Beal. We tried to make him work for his shots, but I thought we did a decent job on (Davis) Bertans. But Mahinmi was the difference in the game.”
Bertans added a 3-pointer and two free throws, which came on a flagrant-2 foul by Markieff Morris (10 points), who was ejected from the game with 7:06 remaining. The Wizards never lost the lead after that.
Rose split a pair of free throws and Bruce Brown added a floater to get the Pistons within five, but the Wizards answered with a floater and free throw from Beal (29 points and six assists) and a basket by former Piston Ish Smith (nine points, seven rebounds and six assists).
The Pistons had one more rally, with two free throws by Snell, a 3-pointer by Mykhailiuk and a free throw by Rose to get within 102-98 with 53.2 seconds left.
Beal hit another jumper and two more free throws to put the game out of reach.
► Morris had a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter and was ejected from the game, with 7:06 remaining. Morris fouled Bertans across the face and after a video review, the officials deemed it was a flagrant-2 level and removed him from the game. Morris also had a toe injury in the first half but returned after halftime.
► Rose’s minutes ballooned to 34, and it seems that his minutes restriction has been loosened considerably and in a starting role, he’s gotten more freedom to run the offense. After playing his 38th game, he looks like a lock to surpass his 51 games from last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
► Langston Galloway has struggled with his shooting, going 3-of-11, with only 0-of-2 coming on 3-pointers. Teams have been closing out on him, taking away 3-point tries, but his maneuvering inside the arc has been better and he’s less effective when he’s not a threat to score from outside.
► Sekou Doumbouya continued his mini-slump. After going for a season-high 24 points against the Celtics, he’s managed just four and six points, respectively, in the last two games. He was 2-of-7 from the field and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. Since joining the starting lineup, he’s been a help, but that production is receding a bit.