DETROIT The economy was better and so were the Wizards in January 2007. That was when the Wizards topped the NBAs Eastern Conference and the last time they beat the Pistons on the road until a 98-77 win Sunday night to stop a seven-game losing streak at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Just as there has been no quick fix or recovery for the economy, a win over the current edition of the Pistons team should not be considered a cure-all victory. Like the economy, the Wizards can point to signs of growth in their win over the Pistons. It was not so much about the final score and a 21-point advantage, but how the Wizards got there.
The Wizards' commitment to the game was evident early when they christened the first quarter on a 6-0 run and forced the Pistons into two turnovers in their first two possessions. Three times in the first half the Wizards built eight-point leads, but struggled with prosperity. At halftime, the score was tied at 45 with the Pistons getting 14 points off 13 Wizards turnovers.
I got down on myself for turning the ball over and throwing careless passes, said Wizards guard John Wall. My teammates and Coach Witt head coach Randy Wittman told me to stick with it and just find my rhythm."
Wall had four of his seven turnovers in the first half and did not score. In the third quarter, Wall seized control of the game. He scored all 9 of his points in the third quarter to help ignite a 20-2 run that broke open a game that had been tied at 61. The Wizards run carried into the fourth quarter and was also fueled by scrappy defensive plays.
John didnt put his head down and sometimes he has a nature of doing that, Wittman said. Is it a growing up process? Yeah. We have talked about the steps we have to make. That is one of them; you have to play through mistakes.
In the fourth quarter, Wall did not score, but did not have any turnovers. More importantly, Wall had five assists to complete a career-high-matching 15-assist game. The entrance of Rashard Lewis into the game also helped Wall, because it helped spread the floor. With Lewis knocking down shots from the wings, suddenly there was more room for Wall to operate in the middle of the floor.
Lewis contributed 10 points to go over 15,000 points for his career to complete a night when the Wizards played through rough spots to enjoy their second road win of the year.