WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 117-97 on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...
Back in the win column
Having lost five of their previous six, the Wizards badly needed a win as they hosted the Pistons on Tuesday. They took care of business against one of the league's worst teams, comfortably coasting to victory in a game they led by as many as 25 points.
Bradley Beal set the tone with a game-high 36 points on 13-for-15 shooting. He also added seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block. It was arguably his best stat line of the season. His point total was one short of his season-high, but his efficiency and well-rounded impact separate this game from the others.
The Wizards snapped a three-game losing streak with the win. They moved to 32-37 on the season with only 13 games remaining in the regular season schedule.
Defense led the way
The Wizards weren't exactly playing the Piston's best squad, as Detroit was on the second night of a back-to-back and without a host of key players like Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III. The Wizards were able to take advantage with one of their best defensive games of the season. Washington held the Pistons to just 97 points on 38.4% shooting from the field and 29.4% from three. They didn't send them to the line, either, as the Pistons went just 11-for-12 at the charity stripe.
That airtight defensive effort helped the Wizards overcome a 7-for-32 (21.9%) night from three on the other end. They also had nine turnovers in the first half. The Wizards, though, still had a big scoring night overall and they shot 51.8% from the field. The Wizards won the paint battle 58-to-44, as Kristaps Porzingis and Daniel Gafford really made James Wiseman (12 points, 4-15 FG) work for it around the rim.
Kuzma was out
The Wizards got this win without one of their best players, as Kyle Kuzma was sidelined due to right knee soreness. He was listed as questionable the day before, but the Wizards then released an update saying he was out. Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. classified the injury as minor and he hopes to have the veteran forward back soon.
The Wizards play next on Friday in Cleveland, so Kuzma will have two days off in between games. But up ahead is a back-to-back against two very good teams; the Cavs and Kings. Corey Kispert started in Kuzma's place against the Pistons and pitched in with 16 points on 6-for-14 shooting.
Avdija stepped up
With Kuzma out, Deni Avdija picked a good time to have a bounceback game. He had been struggling recently, averaging just 4.5 points per game while shooting 28.6% from the field in his previous four outings. But he was much better against Detroit, as he came through with 13 points, including 11 in the first half.
Before the game, Unseld Jr. said he thought Avdija's recent drop-off was due to him pressing to make shots and letting officiating frustrate him. Unseld Jr. was encouraged by the fact Avdija had remained aggressive on offense, playing downhill and looking for his own shot. Avdija was able to break through against the Pistons. In addition to his points, he also had six rebounds and shot 6-for-8 from the field, all while helping the Wizards have a standout game on the defensive end.
Davis played well
This game featured an unexpected development and ultimately a pleasant surprise. That was rookie 10th overall pick Johnny Davis not only getting meaningful minutes for the first time in a while and playing well while he was out there. Unseld Jr. called Davis' name with just over three minutes left in the first quarter and the rookie made an instant impact, going off for a quick eight points in seven minutes on 4-for-5 FG.
Davis ended up with 11 points - surpassing his previous high of three - while shooting 5-for-11 from the field. He also had five rebounds, including one that set the stage for arguably his best NBA play so far. Davis snagged a defensive rebound and took it all the way down the court, weaving through traffic to finish in transition. The Wizards have been hoping he would build some confidence playing for the Go-Go in the G-League and that looked to be the case on this play.