After having no identity in the first part of the season, the Wizards appear to have found one. They played their most disciplined game of the season Friday, committing just five turnovers and followed the lead of John Wall and Bradley Beal in a 122-108 win over the Detroit Pistons in front of 15,573 at Verizon Center.
They were the first opponent to score more than 100 points on Detroit in eight games. The Pistons were allowing just 95.7 points per game, second fewest in the NBA, but the Wizards reached 95 after three quarters.
John Wall (29 points, 11 assists, three steals) led the way with Beal (25 points, four assists) in support. Marcin Gortat (12 points, 14 rebounds, four assists) continued to get the better of his matchup with Andre Drummond as the Wizards won for the sixth time in eight games of the series.
Markieff Morris (11 points, four assists), Otto Porter (15 points, eight rebounds, three assists), Marcus Thornton (11 points) were the other players to reach double figures.
The Wizards (11-14) have won four of their last five games and will have a chance to have their first three-game winning streak of the season when they face the L.A. Clippers on Sunday.
Detroit (14-14) was led by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (24 points), Jon Leuer (17 points), Tobias Harris (14 points), Drummond (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Reggie Jackson (14 points).
--Through three quarters, the Wizards had just one turnover and ended up with six. Their previous low this year was nine. Last year, it was six and in 2014-15 season it was five. Coming into the game, the Pistons committed the fewest in the league (12). They only had nine in this game. The miscues came into play when mostly reserves occupied the floor late.
--Even off made baskets, Wall kept pace into the game. He drew Jackson’s fourth foul at 7:03 of the third. Aron Baynes picked up his fourth on Wall’s drive into traffic with 2.6 seconds left. Baynes had three fouls in just four minutes of the first half alone. Wall went to the foul line 12 times. He made nine.
--Morris started out well after missing the last game with a sore right foot. He had three assists in a matter of minutes, but he also picked up two quick fouls to park himself on the bench. Early foul trouble off reach-ins has been a bad habit all season. But he was a force in the third quarter on both ends, including stuffing his brother’s drive on a fast break with a block, to get the Wizards ahead by as many as 18 points at that point. He only needed to play 18 minutes while Kelly Oubre played starter's minutes off the bench with 34.
--Wall contested three shots on help, an indication of his multiple efforts, to prevent baskets. One was on Caldwell-Pope who’d made his two previous three-point shots. The other was on Harris as he had a clean run to the rim for a dunk that back-rimmed as a result of Wall’s challenge.
--Jason Smith had another good start off the bench, but he left at 7:21 of the second quarter with a strained right hamstring, walked to the locker room and didn’t return to the bench. He was 2-for-2 in five minutes and has found his groove offensively. Instead of running screen action with Thornton, Smith ran it with Beal who automatically gets trapped. That opens the look for Smith when he pops mid-range because all of the attention that Beal draws. Thornton doesn’t command such a scheme which minimizes Smith’s ability in that situation. Despite his injury, coach Scott Brooks didn’t go to Andrew Nicholson much until the game was out of reach in the fourth.
--Tomas Satoransky had registered six DNP-CDs (did not play coach’s decision) but played five minutes in the first half. He didn’t take a shot but he took the floor at the three spot – not as a point guard – initially as he was used as a playmaker/extra ball-handler. Satoransky had two assists. He shifted to point guard when Trey Burke left the floor and Beal returned.
--Beal’s first three-point shot, which came at the 4:07 of the second quarter for a 53-42 lead, gave him his 500th of his career. Only two players have reached that benchmark in franchise history, Antwan Jamison and Gilbert Arenas.
--The bench, led by Thornton, had 30 points. Oubre (seven points, six rebounds) went back to his reserve role and played a major part in the Pistons' starting forwards shooting a combined 6-for-24 from the field.
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