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Pistons pound Wizards


Pistons pound Wizards

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- After the month the Detroit Pistons have had, they will take a victory over any team.

Greg Monroe had 15 points and nine rebounds and rookie Andre Drummond added a double-double as the Pistons ended a six-game losing streak with a 100-68 rout of the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

It was Detroit's first win over anyone other than Cleveland since late November.

"We can't worry about who is playing and who isn't playing on the other team," Monroe said. "We just have to go out there and do our job, and we finally did that tonight."

Washington has been decimated by injuries, with John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Beal and Nene among the unavailable players, and lost their sixth straight.

"That was an embarrassment, and I apologize to our ownership and to our fans," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "I especially apologize to anyone who watched that entire game. I would have turned it off after the first five minutes."

Jordan Crawford led Washington with 20 points, but no one else scored more than 10 points.

"This was a situation where we had some key guys out, which meant our other guys had a chance to step up and prove that they belong in the NBA," Wittman said in a postgame news conference that only lasted one question. "That didn't happen. We may only have nine guys, but I need to find five of them who are willing to show me that they deserve to be here."

The Pistons, who never trailed, got 15 points from Brandon Knight and 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds from Drummond. The Wizards passed on Drummond this summer in the draft, taking Bradley Beal instead.

"Why wouldn't I be aware of it? I worked out for them, and they were on the schedule," Drummond said of his first matchup with Washington. "It doesn't really matter, though. I'm with Detroit now, and I'm just trying to beat them."

The teams meet again Saturday night in the nation's capital, but the Wizards will have to play a much better game to have a shot at splitting the home-and-home series.

"It's not fun when these games happen, but they haven't happened too often with this team," Washington's Emeka Okafor said. "You try to fight against it, but the more you fight, the more you feel like you are in quicksand."

Detroit's biggest problem may have been a fourth-quarter injury to Rodney Stuckey, who went immediately to the locker room after getting hit in the mouth on a fourth-quarter drive. Stuckey didn't lose any teeth, but did not return to the game. He is expected to travel to Washington for Saturday's rematch.

"He got one tooth bent back, but you always want to embellish these stories and make them look good, so in five years, he'll have had a tooth knocked out," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "I feel bad for him, because I'm a little squeamish when it comes to teeth."

With Stuckey unable to shoot his free throws, the Pistons chose Slava Kravtsov to take them. In his NBA debut, the Ukrainian rookie made 1 of 2. Kravtsov dunked in the final seconds for his first field goal.

"It was great to play in a game, but it isn't my goal to come in to shoot someone else's free throws," he said. "I wasn't very comfortable out there tonight, but I want to show that I'm capable of playing more minutes and helping our team."

The game got off to an ugly start, as the teams combined to miss 17 of their first 19 shots. Detroit finally got enough offense going to build a 9-2 lead midway through the first, and the game never got much better.

Washington shot 26 percent in the first quarter and 32 percent in the first half, and only Crawford's 14 points kept them from being behind by more than 53-34 at the intermission.

In contrast, Detroit had three scorers in double figures by halftime and had 13 assists on 19 field goals.

The Pistons didn't let up in the third quarter, moving the advantage to 26, and they were up by as many as 34 down the stretch.

NOTES: Crawford picked up a third-quarter technical for arguing a call, and had to be led away from referee Michael Smith by teammate Emeka Okafor. Later in the quarter, when Crawford didn't get a call on a drive to the basket, Wittman yelled "Don't hold a grudge, Mike. Give us a call." ... In an attempt to boost their struggling attendance, the Pistons will have halftime concerts from MC Hammer (Dec. 28) and Sheila E (Dec. 30) at their next two home games. After leading the league in attendance during much of the past decade, Detroit has trouble filling half the arena for most games. ... Cartier Martin was called for a flagrant foul for a hard screen on Drummond in the fourth. 

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

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Ramon Sessions signs with Wizards for rest of season, giving them long-term insurance for John Wall

The Wizards have signed point guard Ramon Sessions for the rest of the 2017-18 season following the expiration of his second 10-day contract, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

Sessions, 31, has played in five games for the Wizards this season with averages of 7.2 points and 3.4 assists. He spent 13 games with the Knicks previously this season before first signing with the Wizards on Feb. 23. He signed his second 10-day contract on March 5.

The Wizards were only permitted to sign Sessions to two consecutive 10-day contracts per league rules. They had to decided at the end of the second deal whether to sign him for the rest of the season or release him to free agency.

"His reputation is amazing and rightfully so. He showed me and the staff that he comes and does his job every day," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He was more than deserving of the opportunity to stay here all year."


Sessions is eligible for their playoff roster if they do indeed make the postseason, as he was let go by New York before March 1. That was always going to be a consideration in their plans at the end of his second 10-day contract. If they were to go out and get someone else, the March 1 deadline would come back into play.

Sessions gives the Wizards depth at the point guard position along with Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier, who have collectively held down the fort with John Wall out recovering from left knee surgery. By keeping Sessions, the Wizards have another backup plan in place.

Brooks said on Friday that Wall will be placed back into the starting lineup immediately when he's ready to return. That was expected and it will have a domino effect on Sessions and the other guards once he is back. The minutes may dry up completely for Sessions, a 10-year NBA journeyman.

"You're gonna have guys that are going to have to be good teammates," Brooks said, suggesting the playing time would go away. "Sacrificing is a big part of this league."


Satoransky will be the primary backup to Wall and Sessions may be out of minutes alongside Frazier. Brooks did, however, note that Satoransky could spend time at shooting guard and small forward. That could theoretically open the door for Sessions or Frazier to get playing time.

Whether Sessions plays or not, he's happy to be in the fold. Though he often said the uncertainty of the 10-day deal didn't weight on him, he admitted on Friday that it wasn't easy to navigate.

"This was my first time doing a 10-day and those were probably the longest 20 days I've been a part of in the NBA," he said. "I'm just excited to be back here. D.C. is my home." 

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

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