For the second game, and only second time this season, the Washington Wizards took the floor without their best player John Wall (sore knee). Needing to win their final four games and having Detroit lose their final three, the Wizards got an opportunity for a two for one by traveling to The Palace in a Friday night matchup with the Pistons. In typical Washington fashion, the road team dug themselves a big hole before getting bailed out by an unlikely source in the third quarter. But in the end it was all about not playing defense against Reggie Jackson who dropped 39 in Auburn Hills. Washington’s season essentially ended today by being eliminated from playoff contention with a 112-99 loss to Detroit.
If Washington was going to have any shot of miraculous squeaking into the playoffs, they would need another efficient performance from Bradley Beal who scored 25 points on 15 shot attempts against Brooklyn. Things looked good for the Panda early on when he scored seven straight Wizards points, but then things dropped off for the road team. Following a Stan Van Gundy timeout, Detroit went on a 13-2 run behind 7 of 9 shooting from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris combined for 27 points and Washington trailed 39-25 after twelve minutes.
The Wizards were down 19 midway through the second quarter in an elimination game, which clearly was not a good look. Jared Dudley and Beal changed that instantaneously with back-to-back 3-pointers that sparked an 8-0 run. By halftime Washington kept things interesting although they trailed 62-55.
Things looked to unravel again for the Wizards in the third quarter when Beal was trying to do too much when committing back to back turnovers. Following a Marcus Morris 3-pointer that put Detroit up 15 midway through the session, twin brother Markieff Morris decided to take over. The mid-season acquisition scored 20 points in the third quarter alone including a half court heave at the buzzer. Headed to the final quarter of the biggest game of the season, Detroit’s lead was cut to 86-84 after giving up a 16-3 Washington run.
Morris continued the momentum in the fourth quarter where the Wizards took a brief one point lead. Detroit was leaving the door open with several turnovers and not increasing the lead to more than a couple of possessions. On the same note Washington seemed opposed of taking advantage of the Pistons gifts by either turning the ball right back over or not taking a quality shot. Reggie Jackson finished one point shy of a season high with 39 points and Washington fell 112-99 after the home team went on a 12-2 run late.
The Wizards season may be over but they will still have to finish out the final three game stretch of the season by taking on the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday at 12 pm (noon) from Verizon Center.