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News » Wizards-Pistons Preview 2008-12-16

Wizards-Pistons Preview 2008-12-16

Wizards-Pistons Preview 2008-12-16
The Detroit Pistons' new, smaller lineup is working out just fine. Their bench rotation, however, may need some tweaking.

The Pistons, winners of two straight despite almost blowing a big lead in their last contest, look to avenge last week's loss to the Washington Wizards when the teams meet Wednesday night.

Detroit (13-9) has put point guard Rodney Stuckey in the starting lineup alongside fellow perimeter players Allen Iverson and Richard Hamilton the past three games, and it has led to some success after the team struggled for three weeks.

Hamilton is averaging 25.0 points - nearly eight above his season average - and shooting 54.0 percent in those games. Iverson's scoring hasn't gone up during that stretch, but he has shot 50.0 percent from the field after making 40.3 percent of his attempts in his previous 18 games.

The player who has made the transition work so well, though, has been Stuckey, who is averaging 14.7 points and 9.6 assists since entering the starting lineup. Stuckey, the 15th pick in the 2007 draft, is 5-for-7 from 3-point range in his last two contests.

"With Stuckey at the point, it frees up Allen and Rip from having to initiate the offense a lot of times," Pistons coach Michael Curry said. "Stuck does a great job of running sets, putting guys in position to score and I also like Stuckey starting out on the ball defensively."

Iverson, Hamilton and Stuckey combined for 52 points against Washington (4-18) on Dec. 9, but Detroit's reserves were outscored 59-15 in a 107-94 loss. On Saturday night, the Pistons' bench almost blew a 22-point fourth-quarter lead in a 90-86 win over Charlotte.

Detroit's starters were on the bench entering the fourth quarter and all but Iverson returned to hold off the Bobcats, with Hamilton's two free throws with 3.8 seconds to go helping Detroit avoid a monumental collapse from a 29-point third-quarter lead.

The Pistons' reserves are averaging 30.2 points per game, but they've been held below that mark in two of their last three contests.

Washington got 16 points from its bench in a 118-98 loss to Indiana on Monday night. The Wizards have the Eastern Conference's worst record and have lost six of seven, including three in a row.

"It is really frustrating," Washington center Andray Blatche said. "I've been in this locker room for four years. In the four years, this is the worst it's been for us. ... Even though we started slow some of the seasons, we always managed to turn it around. The difference between that is we always had effort."

Blatche, inserted into the starting lineup in place of rookie JaVale McGee, had 19 points. McGee, the 18th pick in the draft, had four points off the bench after starting the previous 13 games.

Wizards forward Antawn Jamison had 26 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for his 14th double-double.

Jamison was held to 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting in last week's meeting with Detroit, but had 24 points and eight rebounds in Washington's 117-109 road loss on Nov. 1 in the teams' only other meeting of the season.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 16, 2008


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