Wizards hold off Pistons, improve to 2-0

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It came down to the final minute again, and once again the Wizards made the winning plays when needed and came out with a 115-111 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night at Capital One Arena.

While this was a night for the Wizards’ offense, the biggest play of the game came on the defensive end. With the Wizards up two and the clock winding down, Reggie Jackson drove to the hoop with a chance to tie the game, but John Wall was waiting for him and sent away his game-tying attempt. Wall would eventually sink two free-throws to put the game on ice and propel the Wizards to their second straight home win.

Wall finished the game with 27 points and 10 assists, Otto Porter led the team with 28 points, and Bradley Beal ended the game with 24.

For the second straight game, the Wizards opened up hot, going 8/10 from the floor and led 18-13 midway through the first. Wall, Beal, and Marcin Gortat didn’t miss a shot from the field in the first, going a combined 8/8 from the floor. But, the Pistons shot 52% in the opening frame and led the Wizards 31-29 after one.

The Pistons extended their lead early in the second quarter, thanks to some stellar bench play from their lefty sharpshooting rookie Luke Kennard, who scored 11 points in the second on 5/6 shooting. For the Wizards, Porter continued his hot shooting as well, after he scored eight in the first quarter, he went 6/8 from the field in the second and finished the half with 20 points. But, it wasn’t the offense that was the issue for the Wizards, as they shot 63% as a team at the break, but they allowed the Pistons to reach 65 points and trailed by seven. The Wizards were held without a 3-pointer at the half and were outrebounded 20-10 (8-1 offensive).

After not taking a shot in the second quarter, Wall came out of the half aggressive, and scored 11 points in the third on 4/6 shooting. The Wizards, who didn’t make a 3-pointer in the first half, went 5/6 from downtown in the third quarter, which led to a 91-81 lead heading to the fourth. The Wiz held the Pistons to 1/8 shooting from the perimeter in the quarter and limited Detroit to just 16 points.

The Wiz opened the fourth on a 5-0 run and built their biggest lead of the night, 96-81 early in that final frame, but the Pistons would fight all the way back, thanks to a 14-0 run fueled by their point guard, Jackson. The final few minutes went back and forth, but Beal’s 3-point play gave the Wizards a 111-108 lead with 2:06 remaining, a lead they would not give up. He then he hit another layup on a nice pass from Porter to give the Wiz a 113-110 lead with 1:23 left, and the Wiz would seal the win in the final seconds.

The Wizards will now head west for a four game road trip, beginning in Denver Monday night.

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