Wizards try to boost playoff hopes vs. last-place Pistons
The Washington Wizards were buried under a blizzard of 3-pointers over the weekend, but will look to change course and heat up when they visit the floundering Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
Washington lost in overtime to Toronto on Saturday as Raptors guard Fred VanVleet hit two clutch 3-pointers in the extra session.
Milwaukee then defeated the Wizards 117-111 on Sunday while making 22 shots from beyond the arc.
“We talked about it before the game: They’re going to be a high-volume 3-point shooting team. They shoot it with some degree of efficiency,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “We knew going in we were going to have to live with some (threes). By loading to Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and showing him a crowd, he’s going to kick it out. Some of them I can live with, then we got caught over-helping three or four times.”
Washington, which is battling for a postseason berth, dropped to 30-34 with the back-to-back losses. Following a six-game winning streak in January, the Wizards have been unable to put together more than two consecutive victories.
“We’ve got to start winning. We can’t keep saying, you know, moral victories,” Washington star Bradley Beal said. “Those don’t exist once February hits.”
Beal led Washington with 33 points against the Bucks, while Kristaps Porzingis supplied 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Porzingis is trying to keep a positive outlook during a rugged month in which the Wizards play 16 games.
“I’m happy with how hard we played and the product we’re giving our fans,” Porzingis said. “Even though we had these two tough losses, I think it’s something positive we can take from these games.”
Kyle Kuzma sat out against the Bucks due to a sore right knee after playing 42 minutes against the Raptors. He and Monte Morris (sore lower back) are listed as questionable for Tuesday’s meeting with Detroit.
“We’ve just got to give it a day or two to calm down,” Unseld said of Kuzma’s injury.
The Pistons will be playing the second game of a back-to-back as well as the second game of a five-game homestand.
Portland handed Detroit its eighth straight loss, 110-104, on Monday. The Pistons never held the lead after the Trail Blazers scored the first 10 points.
Detroit had 16 turnovers and trailed by as much as 19 points.
The Pistons played short-handed, with leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic and three other regulars sidelined by a variety of injuries. The slow start could be attributed to a makeshift rotation.
“We were out of sorts offensively because that is such a new lineup,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “That hurt us in the first quarter and then we compounded them when we started substituting.”
Forward Isaiah Livers had his biggest offensive night of the season, leading seven Pistons in double figures with 17 points. Livers usually takes most of his shots beyond the 3-point line, but scored four of his seven baskets Monday from inside the arc.
“When you get ‘the shooter’ claim, they think all you’re going to do is just sit there and shoot,” he said. “I have a lot more in my game that I’m going to continue to show in these last 15 or 20 games.”
–Field Level Media