Hamilton, Detroit’s second-leading scorer at 19.6 points per game, scored a career-high 44 points in Friday’s 92-88 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 6-foot-7 guard has made 62 percent (36-for-58) of his shots the last four games, and is heating up just in time to face the team that traded him to Detroit prior to last season.
“He was on fire,” said Cleveland rookie LeBron James, who had difficulty keeping up with Hamilton on Friday. “When you’re on fire, it doesn’t matter who you put on him. He was unguardable.”
Hamilton, whose previous career-high was 41 points against Golden State on March 29, 2001, finished 15-of-23 from the field and 13-of-15 at the line.
“I might have scored 69 when I was 13-, 14-years-old, but since junior high, this is my career high,” Hamilton said with a grin.
The Pistons have won six of eight, but have been plagued by slow starts.
“Were still coming out slow and trying to finish up strong, and we need to improve the way we start,” Detroit forward Ben Wallace said. “I think we need to do a better job in preparing for the start of the game.”
The Wizards are hoping to erase the memory of Wednesday’s 120-99 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
It was the seventh defeat in 10 games for Washington, which allowed the Lakers to shoot 61 percent. The Wizards were also outscored 27-8 on the break.
“Those are the type of ones you forget about—throw away the tape,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We’re just not good enough now to compete at their highest level.”
The Wizards played their second game without leading scorer Gilbert Arenas, who went on the injured list Tuesday with a severe abdominal strain.
The Pistons have won seven of the last eight meetings in the series, including four straight at the MCI Center.