The Washington Wizards lost to the Detroit Pistons 121-112 on Monday night. Here are five observations from the game...
1. There have been a few losses along the way this season that stand out among the others as crushing for the Wizards' playoff hopes.
Okay, maybe there have been a lot more than just a few, but Monday can certainly be added to the list.
It wasn’t that they lost to a bad team, Detroit is no worse than mediocre. It was the stakes that were on the line.
The Pistons took the head-to-head season series and therefore earned the playoff tiebreaker between the teams. It was Detroit’s fourth straight win and they now lead by the Wizards by three games in the standings.
The Wizards just can’t solve their problems on the road. They are now 7-22 away from Capital One Arena. Only the Cavs and Knicks have been worse in away games among Eastern Conference teams.
Just when it looks like the Wizards are turning a corner, they don't. This game was yet another example.
2. Chasson Randle got the start at point guard as Tomas Satoransky was out due to personal reasons. The team didn’t specify, but his wife had been expecting their first child.
With John Wall already out, the Wizards were left very thin at the point. Jordan McRae became the back-up and played well, but this is a game where they could have used Troy Brown Jr.
The rookie remains out due to a left ankle sprain, one that head coach Scott Brooks said last week will keep him out until after the All-Star break.
3. The door opening for McRae worked out well for the Wizards because it was one of those nights where he provided instant offense off the bench.
McRae erupted for 10 points in his first eight minutes in the first half on 5-for-7 from the field, again showing a diverse skillset around the rim. He slowed down after that and ended up with 10 points and four assists in 19 minutes, but his initial burst helped the Wizards climb back after an early deficit.
McRae has great touch on layups and can score with both hands. When he first signed with the Wizards, it stood out that he had recorded a 7-1 wingspan at the 2014 NBA Combine. While usually that helps guys on defense, he uses his length to score. He can get to the rim quickly without jumping very high because of his reach.
The Wizards, by the way, have less than two weeks now before they will have to decide on McRae’s contract, per the NBA’s rules for two-way deals. He is creeping up on the 45-day limit. If he gets there by the end of the G-League season, the Wizards will have to either sign him to a guaranteed NBA deal or let him go elsewhere.
4. The offensive impact we saw from Jabari Parker through his first two games with the Wizards was not there on Monday night. He went ice cold as a scorer and didn’t create for others as he did against the Cavs and Bulls.
Parker was held to zero points in 20 minutes, and it wasn’t just the numbers. He didn’t have the same aggression either on catch-and-gos in the halfcourt or in transition. Parker did a great job in the first two games with bringing the ball up on fast breaks as a point forward. He didn’t do it in this one.
Parker had a few passes that went to no one. He was just off and didn’t seem nearly as engaged as has otherwise been for Washington.
5. The Wizards had some serious trouble with the Pistons vaunted frontcourt of Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Drummond put up 32 points, 17 rebounds, and four steals, while Griffin had 31 points, nine boards and nine assists.
Drummond had 17 points and 11 boards in 17 minutes by halftime. Griffin had 20 points at the break.
They helped lead a dominant effort for Detroit in the middle. The Pistons out-did the Wizards 56-40 in paint points and 48-37 in rebounds. That forced Brooks to make an adjustment by basically pulling Thomas Bryant in favor of Portis. Bryant only played 16 minutes, though he had eight points and eight rebounds.
Jeff Green also came up short. He had only four points and one rebound.
The Wizards had no answer for the Pistons' biggest strength.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- Back to School: John Wall to finish college while out with Achilles injury
- Playoff Push Still Alive? Beating the Pistons would mean more than just a win
- Newfound Depth: How Wizards' roster changes are shaking things up