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News » No matter the lineup, Wizards find way to fall

No matter the lineup, Wizards find way to fall

No matter the lineup, Wizards find way to fall
The starting lineup changed yet again Wednesday as Washington Wizards coach Ed Tapscott continues to search for the remedy that will lead to his team's resurrection.

But unfortunately for Tapscott - who started Mike James at point guard - the ills remain without a cure as the Wizards suffered an 88-74 defeat to the host Detroit Pistons and fell to 4-19 on the season.

It marked Washington's second loss in three meetings this season with Detroit and the fifth time this season that the Wizards have fallen to an opponent multiple times. The Pistons (14-9) joined New York, Orlando, Miami and Atlanta as foes who have two wins over Washington so far.

The defeat was the Wizards' fourth in a row - all by double-digit margins - and their lowest offensive output this season.

"We struggled with the offense, and you can look at yourself and say we struggled, or you can give a pretty good Basketball team with some good defensive players some credit," Tapscott said. "It was partly us - we needed a little more offensive discipline. And they did a good job - they made us work at everything we tried to do."

The Wizards spent the entire game chasing the Pistons, whittling a double-digit halftime deficit to 61-60 on a pair of free throws by Dominic McGuire 40 seconds into the fourth quarter.

But the Pistons, led by 28 points by Allen Iverson and 18 from Rodney Stuckey (nine of them in the fourth quarter), pulled away for the victory.

The Pistons slammed the door in the final four minutes of play. With the Wizards trailing 75-67, Antonio McDyess made a layup before a turnover by James and a layup by Stuckey. Then Iverson picked off a pass from Caron Butler and scored on a breakaway layup to give Detroit an 81-67 lead.

"Miscommunication," James said. "Coach was playing one play, and I was calling one play, and everybody was looking around. So I figured, get the ball into [Butler], and I was thinking he was posting up, and [Iverson] popped out as soon as I threw it. That was that turnover, and then the other. You know Iverson is known for playing the passing lane, and he got the bead on the ball, and that was the turning point. The crowd was into it, and the rest was history."

Poor shooting again crippled the Wizards. They shot a season-low 33 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range.

Also severely hampering the Wizards' efforts was an off night from leading scorer Caron Butler, who had a season-low five points and took only four shots all game as the Pistons overloaded toward him. Fellow All-Star Antawn Jamison was slowed by a sprained thumb left thumb suffered in the first quarter and winced badly every time he touched the ball with two hands. Jamison finished with 14 points on 5-for-18 shooting.

James, who got his first start since the Wizards acquired him from New Orleans last week, led Washington with 16 points. Center Andray Blatche recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds.

By inserting James into the starting lineup and sending Juan Dixon back to his familiar and more comfortable role as a reserve, Tapscott gave the Wizards their seventh different starting combination this season. The move was made in part because the Wizards were left without much of an offensive threat to come off the bench after Blatche entered the starting lineup. Dixon led the Wizards' reserves with eight points in 15 minutes.

Washington trailed 23-21 after one quarter. With the Pistons leading 33-30 in the second, Detroit went on an 11-0 run paced by six points from Iverson and built a 44-30 lead. DeShawn Stevenson and Jamison scored a basket apiece to cut the deficit to 10 at halftime.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 19, 2008


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