Preview: Washington Wizards look for second straight win against Detroit Pistons

Washington Wizards Troy Brown Jr (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Troy Brown Jr (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards will look to follow up Monday night’s win against New York with another on Thursday against the Detroit Pistons.

Thursday night’s matchup between the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons will feature two teams who’ve had rough seasons to start due to injury-ridden rosters.

For the Pistons, starting point guard Reggie Jackson has played only two games this season, and now up-and-coming guard Luke Kennard is set to miss up to two weeks.

While that certainly sounds rough, nothing compares to the Wizards’ new reality, which is having over a handful of players listed on the injury report weekly.

Monday night’s victory over the 7-24 New York Knicks should actually be celebrated. The Knicks are no juggernaut this season, but Washington had eight players listed on the injury report and still pulled out a win behind a strong night from Bradley Beal and Troy Brown Jr.

The question surfacing now is whether or not they can replicate their strong-willed performance and grab one more win before 2019 ends. But this game poses a stronger challenge to Beal and the Wizards, who aren’t expected to have any more healthy bodies than they did in New York.

Washington Wizards to Watch

While the Pistons may be down two key guards, they’ve still got a stout backcourt defender available in Bruce Brown. Brown is a 23-year-old bulldog on the defensive end and has held his own against some of the league’s biggest stars this season. This matchup could be a tough test for Bradley Beal, who has been bothered by additional attention on the defensive end. With all the recent injuries, it’s even more obvious who the Wizards are relying on, and their all-star shooting guard is getting is feeling the pressure.

However, the Pistons struggled to stop Beal earlier this season. In Washington’s win over the Pistons earlier this month, Beal went off for 35 points. It was arguably his best game of the season, and one of the Wizards’ more notable wins.

Another guy to keep an eye on is Tory Brown Jr. In the month of December he’s averaging 11.9 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. Not to mention he’s coming off the best game of his career: a 26-point outing in Washington’s win over the New York Knicks.

Brown is catching stride, finding a rhythm, and contributing heavily to a team in dire need of help from anywhere along it’s bench. He’s taking more threes, making more plays, and is generally a lot more involved in this Washington offense as of late. As the Wizards continue to deal with injuries, they’ll need Brown to keep stepping up if they want to be at all competitive.

Detroit Pistons to Watch

As is the case most nights for Detroit, the frontcourt play will tell their story.

Combined, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond are averaging 33.8 points, 20.5 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game on the season. Big numbers, but they aren’t translating to wins. When both players have been available for Detroit this season, the Pistons have gone just 6-10.

After Griffin missed two games recently with flu like symptoms, he came back in an underwhelming fashion in their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers: 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. If he’s going to have another off game, the Wizards will need to capitalize. Without a stellar effort from Griffin, the Wizards chances of victory are much better,

While Detroit’s strength is in their frontcourt, Washington’s biggest hole (right now) is in the frontcourt. The Wizards are without starting power forward Rui Hachimura, starting center Thomas Bryant, and center Mortiz Wagner. All three will be out for Thursday night’s game against the Pistons.

Next. Let it Fly: An ode to Davis Bertans. dark

So, it’ll be up to rookie forward Admiral Schofield and Ian Mahinmi to hold their own against Detroit’s All-Star frontcourt rotation. Allowing Griffin and Drummond big performances is the sure fire way to fall well short against this Pistons team. They’ll only go as far as their frontcourt takes them.