Wizards extend winning spell at home

Wizards guard Bradley Beal (above, right) dribbles past Pistons forward Jon Leuer, and guard Darrun Hilliard at the Verizon Centre. Beal finished with 25 points in Washington's 122-108 victory.
Wizards guard Bradley Beal (above, right) dribbles past Pistons forward Jon Leuer, and guard Darrun Hilliard at the Verizon Centre. Beal finished with 25 points in Washington's 122-108 victory.PHOTO: WASHINGTON POST

WASHINGTON • The Washington Wizards continued to wipe away traces of their poor start to the season on Friday, winning their fourth straight National Basketball Association (NBA) home game by stomping the Detroit Pistons 122-108.

The last time the Wizards lost at Verizon Centre, their defence was so poor that even a 52-point performance from John Wall could not save them against Orlando.

They did not require such an outlandish scoring night from their star point guard on Friday, but Wall was nothing if not efficient, carving up Detroit for 29 points and 11 assists and just one turnover.

He was eight for 14 from the field and connected on all four of his three-point attempts.

"We couldn't handle their guards at all. I mean, just John Wall was great, (Bradley) Beal was great," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said.

"They were getting wherever they wanted on the floor and then making plays. The other guys shot the ball well, too, but those two guys just destroyed us."

Beal had 25 points and was dominant through the second quarter. In less than 10 minutes, he made five of six shots and scored 14 of the team's 38 points in that period.

Though the offence ran mostly through the guards, the Wizards did not cast away team basketball. They totalled 30 assists to just six turnovers.

"John did a great job really of managing the game," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.

"We talked about how you've got to attack the basket. The paint is open, the rim is there, use it. He did, and he opened everything up."

Washington (11-14) won for the fourth time in five games while the Pistons dropped to 14-14.

The only setback for the Wizards came in the second quarter, when reserve centre Jason Smith strained his left hamstring.

The injury comes at a time when Smith was showing signs that he was finally growing comfortable with the second unit.

"He's making shots," Brooks said about Smith before the game.

"Earlier he was in a mini shooting slump to start the season. He normally makes those shots, and he was missing them.

"Now he's playing solid basketball for us, and we need that. We need that off the bench."

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 18, 2016, with the headline 'Wizards extend winning spell at home'. Print Edition | Subscribe