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The Detroit Pistons were desperate for a win. They lost their last three games by 32, 18, and 11 respectively. A game against the Washington Wizards was exactly what the doctor ordered. Detroit had won all three games with the Wizards coming into tonight.
The Pistons also welcomed back starting shooting guard Brandon Knight, who missed the previous three games due to a right knee hyper extension, and backup point guard Will Bynum, who was suspended a game.
The Pistons were moving the ball early. Jason Maxiell assisted Knight on a 3 to open the scoring for Detroit. The Knight hit Kyle Singler and Greg Monroe for layups. Jose Calderon found Knight for another 3. Then off a John Wall turnover, Calderon hit Knight for a layup on the fast break. The Pistons had an assist on all 13 field goals they had in the 1st quarter. It was truly, beautiful basketball. Detroit led 28-24 after one.
Bynum then came in and assisted on two Kim English 3′s and a Charlie Villanueva 3. The streak ended when Rodney Stuckey had a runner on his own. The Pistons had assists on their first 16 field goals. It was beautiful.
However, Washington made a run behind Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, and A.J. Price to take a 55-51 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was all Detroit. They went on a 25-4 run after being down 62-57. Knight started it with a jumper and the he had a 3. Then he had a behind the back dribble around Wall and a no look pass to Singler for a dunk on a fast break. It was impressive to watch. Knight made another 3 during the run, Calderon hit Maxiell for an alley-oop slam, and Calderon fed Monroe for a layup. Detroit out scored the Wizards 31-17 in the quarter and led 82-68 after three.
In classic Pistons fashion, they let the opponent back into the game. The Wizards had an 11-0 run behind Kevin Seraphin, Price, and Ariza to get within 82-79. The Pistons pushed the lead back to 92-83 on two Knight free throws for his career high 32 points. Calderon had a layup to put the Pistons up 96-87 with 1:06 left and it appeared over.
Ariza then made back-to-back 3′s, Calderon then had a rare untimely turnover, and Bynum was called for a clear path foul against Ariza. Ariza hit both and it was just a 96-95 lead with 12.1 left. Ariza’s game winning 3 was short and the Pistons survived 96-95 and they swept the season series Wizards for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
This shows that the Pistons are just a better team with Knight on the floor. The last three games, they missed his play making ability and they were terrible on offense. Remember, this kid is only in his 2nd NBA season. He still has a lot to learn. The future looks bright for him. He just came back from injury and scored a new career high 32 points. He made 5/6 from deep and 11/18 overall. He was terrific.
Calderon and Monroe were great as well. Calderon had his best game as a Piston. He had 18 assists and helped the Pistons have 35 assists on their 38 buckets. It was poetry at its best. Monroe had 26 points and 11 rebounds in his return to his college ground at Georgetown. It was a good win and right now it’s all about learning how to win with this team. To play consistently and to play good basketball. That’s what these last 22 games should be about.