March 29, 2018 | Little Caesars Arena | Detroit, MI
The Washington Wizards will have to wait at least another two days before they officially clinch a playoff berth after losing to the Detroit Pistons. The road team was slow coming out of the locker room at halftime, which was the difference in the game. The Wizards were unable to complete the four-game season series sweep over the Pistons, which would have been the first time since 1968-69. To make matters worse, the loss is not anywhere close to the most concerning thing for Washington.
(Photo: Chris Schwegler via Getty Images)
Andre Drummond Dominates
In 38 minutes of play, Drummond took the load left by Blake Griffin who was a late scratch with an ankle injury. The All-Star big had 24 points on 10-16 shooting and 23 rebounds. 17 of those points came in the second half as he took advantage of switches as well as his matchups with Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris. Washington has previously done a good job of keeping Drummond in check, but tonight was a different story and he carried his team on his back to a victory.
The Wizards were a miserable 6-for-32 from beyond the arc, which seemed even worse if not for consecutive triples from Markieff Morris to Tomas Satoransky and vice versa as well as back-to-back knock downs from Jodie Meeks later in the game. Washington was also just 37-for-89 (41.6 percent) from the field as pretty much everyone struggled. Otto Porter (2-7), Markieff Morris (5-15), Bradley Beal (6-17), Kelly Oubre (5-12), and Mike Scott (4-10) were a combined 3-for-20 from beyond the arc. Only 30 points came outside of the paint and free throw line for Washington.
Poor Third Quarter
In three games this season, all wins, Washington has outscored Detroit by an average of 37.7-19.7 in the third quarter. That was not anywhere close to the case in the final matchup as they lost the frame 32-17 after the game was tied at 49 during intermission. The Wizards had eight turnovers for 11 Piston points in the quarter after halftime as they allowed the home team to shoot 59.1 percent from the field.
Right when John Wall is nearing a return to the lineup, the Wizards suffer potentially two deadly blows to their starting lineup. Otto Porter exited with a right ankle sprain after twisting his tendon before getting his foot stepped on by Stanley Johnson. Porter would have to be helped off the floor directly to the locker room and did not put any weight on his right ankle. After the game, Scott Brooks called Porter’s injury a “mild ankle sprain” and shared that is x-rays came back negative.
At the end of the third quarter, Bradley Beal banged knees with Henry Ellenson that dropped the All-Star shooting guard to the floor in agony. Beal would be able to return to the game, but hopefully things do not stiffen up later. Of course, it was knee-on-knee contact on November 7 that caused Wall’s knee ailments throughout this past season. If either of Washington’s two other max contract players have to miss significant time, then they will be in big trouble.
Next Game: Washington is back home for one game against Charlotte in what will likely be Wall’s first game since the decision to undergo left knee surgery.