Heading into last night’s matchup, the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards were 2-14 and at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Perhaps not much was at stake, except for the losing team, who was going to have the dishonorable title of “the worst team in the league” by themselves. Fortunately, that was not the Washington Wizards.
Was it a perfect performance from the Wizards? No.
But the team fought, competed, and led the game the entire way for a convincing 126-107 win.
Even though Kyle Kuzma was easily the best player on the court with an impressive 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists, it was a balanced production by the Wizards, who had seven players in double digits. Deni Avdija was the second-best Wizard in the game, who overpowered the Pistons’ defense in transition, post-ups, and straight-line drives on his way to 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists on 6/9 shooting from the field.
The Wizards displayed a high level of intentionality and physicality. Taking advantage of the youth and inexperience of the Pistons, the Wizards consistently attacked the rim and got fouled. Going to the free-throw line a whopping 28 times, Washington converted 26 of their shots at the line. The overall defensive intensity and discipline were better than in previous games as well.
Yet, it’s important to remember that the opponent was a Detroit Pistons team who had lost 13 straight going into last night. They were not only missing a slew of veteran players in Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris, and Joe Harris, but they were also missing all of their shots. They finished the game with an abysmal 8/38 from behind the three-point line. The Wizards still gave up too many offensive rebounds and second-chance points, as the Pistons grabbed an impressive 18 offensive boards.
A win is a win, and it’s good to see the Wizards back on track. However, the many problems with the team persist. Poole’s underwhelming production, the rebounding problem, and the terrible defense are not going anywhere. Washington still needs to clean some things up. Still, it’s nice to know that at least they are not the worst team in the NBA.