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News » Do it with defense

Do it with defense

Do it with defense
AUBURN HILLS -- Michael Curry envisions the Detroit Pistons being a gritty, defensive-minded bunch that plays tough when the game gets tight.

The Pistons certainly looked the part for their coach Wednesday, as they fought off a fourth-quarter surge by Washington for an 88-74 win.

Detroit (14-9) has won three in a row, the team's longest winning streak since it opened a West Coast trip last month with consecutive victories against Sacramento, Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers.

But this victory might have been the best of the lot for Curry, whose team limited Washington (4-19) to a season-low 33.3 percent shooting from the field.

"Defensively, all night we were good," Curry said. "Guys were making multiple efforts at times. To play the way we need to play defensively, that's what it takes."

Especially when Wednesday's game got close in the fourth quarter, which seemed to have the makings of another late-game implosion by Detroit.

Washington cut Detroit's double-digit lead to a single point on two occasions in the fourth.

In each instance, the Pistons were able to hold off the Wizards by scoring either from the field or free throw line.

But after a floater by Antawn Jamison cut Detroit's lead to 67-64, the Pistons' defense took over.

Washington missed its next eight shots from the floor as Detroit pushed its lead back to double digits. In addition to the missed shots, the Pistons also forced the Wizards into comitting three of their four fourth-quarter turnovers in the final 3:38.

"Those are the things that allow us to get into our offensive groove," Detroit guard Arron Afflalo said. "As long as we're consistent and give that effort we should be good every night, give ourselves a chance to win."

Detroit's strong defense down the stretch also opened things up at the other end of the floor, as the Pistons shot 57.9 percent from the field in the fourth quarter.

Leading the way offensively for Detroit in the fourth were guards Allen Iverson and Rodney Stuckey, who had eight and nine points, respectively, in the quarter. Iverson led all scorers with 28 points, and Stuckey tallied his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and a career high-tying 11 assists.

While Detroit's balanced scoring was noteworthy, players recognized the key to this win was defense.

"It's going to be tough for anybody to beat us if we play defense like this," Iverson said. "When we lock down and play defense like this, it's going to be tough."

Detroit's defense gave all the Wizards problems, especially their top two scorers, Caron Butler and Jamison.

Butler, who torched Detroit for 33 points in Washington's 107-94 win last week, finished with more turnovers (six) than points scored (five). Jamison, who was bothered by a left hand injury suffered in the first half, had 14 points but shot just 5-for-18 from the field.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 19, 2008


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