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Pistons pound Wizards

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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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ESPN's Jackie MacMullan wonders if NBA players will use the tip line for competitive advantage

ESPN's Jackie MacMullan wonders if NBA players will use the tip line for competitive advantage

With the NBA season restart officially underway inside the Orlando bubble, the league has implemented a tip line to take anonymous reports on players and officials who might be disobeying the bubble protocol. 

The bubble is reserved for authorized personnel only in order to decrease the chances of coronavirus spreading within the quarantined community.

While the line is active for immediate use, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Monday that the line has yet to be utilized.

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Wednesday, on ESPN's "Around The Horn," Jackie MacMullan pondered the idea that players would offer tips to the anonymous line in order to gain a competitive advantage.

"Here's what I worry about -- what about using this tip line as a competitive advantage?" MacMullan said. "What if I plant a seed that may or may not be true about Player X because I'm Player Y?"

"I will say this: The bubble will be penetrated because money talks and these players have more money than most of the world," MacMullan said.

RELATED: SEE SOCIAL JUSTICE STATEMENTS WIZARDS WILL WEAR

The NBA was very specific in how violators of bubble protocol will be disciplined, however they haven't stated how false tips, or those deemed used for a competitive advantage, will be treated. 

"Violations, of course, are a big no-no, which could lead to disciplinary action," the NBA's bubble protocol reads. "No one will be stopped from leaving the campus, but players and staff should not do so unless there are extenuating circumstances.”

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See the social justice statements Wizards players will wear on their jerseys

See the social justice statements Wizards players will wear on their jerseys

Nine Wizards will use their platform to promote change by wearing social justice messages on their jerseys when the NBA resumes on July 30.

As a part of the league’s efforts to address racism and issues of social justice in America, the NBA permitted players to replace the names on the back of their jerseys with a social justice statement during the league’s return to play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla.

The NBA and NBPA agreed to a list of 29 approved statements that players could wear instead of their names: Black Lives Matter, Say Their Names, Vote, I Can't Breathe, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Enough, Power to the People, Justice Now, Say Her Name, Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can), Liberation, See Us, Hear Us, Respect Us, Love Us, Listen, Listen to Us, Stand Up, Ally, Anti-Racist, I Am A Man, Speak Up, How Many More, Group Economics, Education Reform and Mentor.

On Wednesday, the Wizards announced the players who will be wearing these messages, which word or phrase they chose and why. Isaac Bonga, Troy Brown Jr., Ian Mahinmi, Shabazz Napier, Anzejs Pasecniks, Jerome Robinson, Admiral Schofield, Mortiz Wagner and Johnathan Williams will all take part in the league’s unique effort.

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Isaac Bonga –– “Freedom”

“I chose ‘FREEDOM’ on the back of my jersey because I think it is time for us to be free,” Bonga said. “We should leave the past in the past and learn from our mistakes, because I think if you do that, you’re going to grow as a collective, but also grow as human beings. I think if you do that, we should start teaching the next generation, teaching our kids about being free and how to love each other. I think that’s why I chose ‘FREEDOM.’

Troy Brown Jr. –– “Black Lives Matter”

“I put ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ on the back of my jersey just to reiterate the social injustices that have been going on in our country and just to remind people that just because we’re in the bubble doesn’t mean we forgot about everything that’s going on,” Brown Jr. said.

Ian Mahinmi –– “Vote”

“I picked ‘VOTE’ to be the message on the back of my jersey,” Mahinmi said. “Initially, I wanted to put ‘vote locally,’ because I am a believer in voting locally. I almost think that it has more of an impact on your life than the presidential elections. That was my message. I believe that in the system that we live in, it is the most accurate way to demand change, so I wanted to put that message and I appreciate the opportunity.”

Voting rights and awareness have become an especially important issue for Mahinmi who spent the last week raising awareness on his social media for the elections in Texas. He also has played a major role in the discussion about using Capital One Arena as a polling center for the election this November.

Shabazz Napier –– “Equality”

“In this world, at the moment right now, we’re fighting amongst each other,” Napier said. “Whether it’s black or white or women or men. I think for us to understand that everybody should be held at an equal standard, not matter the race, no matter the gender. I think that speaks loudly to me. I was raised by my mother only, so I understand the trials and tribulations that women go through on a daily basis to a certain extent – obviously I’m not a female. I think that is very important, as much as the black and white…same for (the LGBTQ) community and their equal rights. That means a lot. I think if you can handle that down, sooner or later, things will come to fruition where we live in a positive world.”

RELATED: NATASHA CLOUD, MIKE LOCKSLEY AND IAN MAHINMI ON RACE IN AMERICA

Anzejs Pasecniks –– “Equality”

“I chose to have ‘EQUALITY’ on my back just as a simple reminder to treat every single person the same way,” Pasecniks said. “It doesn’t matter what color you are, what language you speak or where you’re from.”

Jerome Robinson –– “Black Lives Matter”

“I put ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ on the back of my jersey because I think that is the biggest symbol of representation of what we have going on right now,” Robinson said. “Through the whole quarantine, with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, etc. and the amount of people that were murdered for no reason at all or for terrible reasoning. I think it’s the biggest symbol on one of the biggest platforms, so ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ will be on the back of my jersey.”

Admiral Schofield –– “Enough”

“I chose ‘ENOUGH’ on the back of my jersey because it’s time for people to be more aware,” Schofield said. “It’s time for people to stop making excuses. It’s time for people to stop being uncomfortable with uncomfortable situations. Enough is enough. I think it’s time for us to sit at the table and create change. Change is only going to be created by us who are willing to do so, who are willing to sit and have the hard conversations. Black lives matter to me because I am a black man in America. I am a British American. One of the things that I’ve experienced in this country is pure racism, systematic racism – and it has to stop. So enough is enough.”

Moritz Wagner –– “Vote”

“I chose ‘VOTE’ to put on the back of my jersey because I think it is very important that everybody expresses their opinion,” Wagner said. “Even if you don’t go vote, you’re basically submitting a vote. I feel like, coming from Europe, not a lot of people participate in politics over here in the United States. I feel like now, more than ever, the urgency is a high as it’s ever been. I encourage everybody to go vote. I would vote if I could here in the states.”

RACE IN AMERICA: WATCH THE FULL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION HERE

Johnathan Williams –– “Say Her Name”

“I chose ‘SAY HER NAME,” Williams said. “The reason behind it was because of the Breonna Taylor incident where she lost her life while she was sleeping in bed. I just want to say her name because I think that’s really important. We need to continue to praise our women in and show them love. That’s what I believe.”

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