The Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 121-100 on Saturday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...
The Washington Wizards have been maddeningly streaky this season, at one point winning seven of eight in February only to follow that by losing 14 of 18. Now they are back to winning and making everyone who watches them wonder how the same team can be capable of such extreme highs and lows.
By beating the Pistons on Saturday, the Wizards have now won four straight games and six of their last seven. One more win and they will match their best stretch of the season.
This one was fairly smooth. The Wizards led by 13 points entering the fourth quarter and then ran away with it for a blowout victory. They killed Detroit in the paint - 74 points to 46 - and made 9-for-16 (56.3%) from three.
Scoring title update
With the way Stephen Curry has been playing, Bradley Beal appears in for quite the battle for the 2020-21 scoring title. Curry is one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen and he's on fire, having averaged 38.2 points in his last nine games entering Saturday night.
Beal, though, boosted his candidacy with 37 points against the Pistons, his fourth straight game with 30-plus points. Before this stretch, he had reached 30 points in only three of his previous 13 games. Beal appears to have regained his rhythm and on Saturday he even made his threes. After going 0-for-9 on Friday, the worst 3-point shooting night of his career, Beal knocked down 4-of-6 against Detroit.
Russell Westbrook came just one assist short of a triple-double on Friday night, so he wasted no time at all getting one against the Pistons. He was only three points shy by halftime, already pulling in 10 rebounds and dishing 10 assists. In fact, he was only three points and a rebound short with 7:06 left in the second quarter.
Westbrook ended up with 15 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists (and two steals) for his 25th triple-double of the season. That puts him at 171 for his career, now only 10 behind Oscar Robertson's NBA record of 181. Westbrook has 16 games left and would need 11 to set the record. That won't be easy, but it's doable if he keeps up his current pace, having notched a triple-double in 11 of his last 13 games.
Bertans had a son
This was the second game in as many days that sharpshooting forward Davis Bertans was out due to personal reasons. Thanks to head coach Scott Brooks, we know what those personal reasons are related to.
Bertans' wife gave birth to a son, their second child. Brooks shared the good news and added both the wife and baby are doing well. As for when Bertans will return to the team, Brooks didn't say. But it's probably safe to assume he will be back either for Monday's game or on Wednesday at the latest. Guys are rarely away from the team long in these situations, which can be one of the tougher parts of their job.
Hachimura and Len went down
The Wizards have enjoyed essentially a fully healthy roster in recent games, a refreshing change given how their season has gone. But that didn't last long as both of their starting big men left this game with injuries. Alex Len departed in the first half with a sore right ankle and then Rui Hachimura left in the third quarter with left knee soreness.
The Wizards were in a difficult spot on Saturday in the second game of a back-to-back and with Daniel Gafford playing on a minutes restriction. But if either Len or Hachimura has to miss some time, they should be in okay shape having recently signed big man Jordan Bell to a 10-day contract.