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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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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

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USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.

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UNC's Coby White talks Wizards workout, North Carolina and John Wall's legendary mixtape

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UNC's Coby White talks Wizards workout, North Carolina and John Wall's legendary mixtape

In Tuesday's Wizards Talk podcast Chris Miller sat down with point guard Coby White, a projected lottery pick from the University of Carolina. 

On Monday, the Wizards worked out White and college teammate Nassir Little in the franchise's highest-profile workout this year. Despite being projected higher than No. 9, White was enthusiastic about the opportunity. 

"These mock drafts are cool, but it's not the real deal," explained White. "If I was to slip and Washington were to select me, I'd be in a great place."

White's passion combined with his impressive skill set enabled him to become the all-time leading scorer in North Carolina high school history. Growing up he followed John Wall, as did every hooper in North Carolina, and he still remembers Wall shredding apart defenses on his legendary high school mixtape. 

"His mixtape was lit," professed White. "The style he played with was uncomparable to anyone else."

What many people don't know about White was that growing up, his dream school was Duke. Once he got to Chapel Hill, however, Roy Williams, his teammates and UNC's winning tradition won him over in a heartbeat. 

"They didn't care how much you had coming in, Coach Williams never promised me playing time," said White. "He just promised me 'I'll be the hardest coach you ever had and I'll try my best to make you the best you can be.'"

At Thursday draft, White's life will be changed forever once he hears his name called and shakes Adam Silver's hand. For Wizards fans, hopefully, that won't happen before the No. 9 pick

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