The Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons meet on Wednesday trying to reverse losing trends. Washington enters at 13-21 and winners of just three of their last ten. The Pistons have completely unraveled after a 13-8 start, have gone just 2-8 since.
At 15-16 the Pistons are eighth in the Eastern Conference and are 10-8 at home. Washington has taken four of the last five between the teams, including a 102-97 road win on October 10. However, they are a woeful 4-15 on the road this season.
Much of Washington's troubles stems from poor rebounding and defense. They are last in points allowed and next to the bottom in rebounding. While much has gone wrong for Washington, they have Bradley Beal and John Wall, who can keep them in most games. Beal comes in averaging 23.5 per game to go along with 4.8 assists. Wall adds 20.7 per contest, while being the court general, dishing out 8.7 assists per game.
The acquisition of Trevor Ariza should help on the boards, he's averaging 6.3 rebounds in four games with the Wizards and contributes 13.5 points per game. Otto Porter Jr, Markieff Morris and Jeff Green all add over 11 points per game. Another deficiency is in long range shooting, hitting just 33 percent from three-point range, below the league average.
For the Pistons, their leader is veteran Blake Griffin, who is among the league leaders in scoring at 25.3 per game. Add in 8.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists and Griffin can take the team on his shoulders. However, he provides a huge chunk of the scoring on a team that ranks 22nd in points scored.
One major advantage for the Pistons in this one is on the boards, ranked seventh in the league, lead by Andre Drummond's 15.5 per game. He adds 17.7 points per night and Reggie Jackson is a solid contributor at 15.3 per game. Washington has to watch for Reggie Bullock, who can get on fire from long range, hitting nearly 40 percent of his three-pointers this season.
Both teams need to right sinking ships, so past performances between these two teams means little. Detroit's home performance versus Washington's road difficulties, as well as the large rebounding differences should be the keys to this one. I expect the Pistons to win this one, pulling away in the fourth quarter.