- Teams: Washington Wizards (13-14) at Detroit Pistons (14-18)
- Date: December 30, 2013
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD Plus
What to look for
The Detroit Pistons are in the midst of arguably their worst five-game stretch of the season. During this timeframe, Detroit has been defeated four times by double digits and that’s putting it lightly.
The closest defeat was a loss at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats by 10 points at home. The remaining defeats have come by an average of 19.3 points against the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.
Their most recent defeat came at the hands of a Wizards team two nights ago that has feasted on sub-.500 squads as of late. Indeed, Washington has won four of their past five contests.
The four wins came against Eastern Conference teams with losing records and the lone defeat was at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Washington might very well be the best bad team in the east.
They have the fourth-best record in the conference behind the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks. Furthermore, one could argue that they have the best core of all the losing teams in the conference (Brooklyn Nets notwithstanding).
The Wizards’ starting perimeter players seem to play well off each other thanks in large part to John Wall. The former Kentucky Wildcat possesses some great athletic gifts and consequently, he uses them to create advantageous matchups for his team.
Wall is a terror off the bounce when he gets into the lane and he forces defenses to converge upon him. From there, he can dish off to others for high-percentage looks. The beneficiaries of Wall’s play are typically Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal.
In 50 minutes of playing time versus the Pistons this season, the trio is scoring a staggering 119.4 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com. As a reference point, the Portland Trail Blazers have the league’s best offense and produce 110.4 points per 100 possessions.
The biggest reason the threesome has been so potent in head-to-head matchups versus the Pistons is Trevor Ariza. Detroit simply has not been able to put the clamps on him. Indeed, the former Los Angeles Laker is averaging a Tracy McGrady-esque 21.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game on 52 percent shooting from the field against Maurice Cheek’s bunch. Most of his damage has been done from long range, where he has converted 10 of 17 treys.
If the Pistons wish to reverse their fortunes against the Wiz (have lost twice already to them), the first place to start is with Ariza.