Detroit, which owns the best record in the NBA, hasn’t lost at Washington since a 103-96 defeat on March 14, 2001. The Pistons can also clinch their fifth straight 50-win season with a victory.
Washington, though, has already beaten Detroit this season and is one of just two visiting teams to win at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Gilbert Arenas scored 39 points despite shooting 10-for-32, and the Pistons had three starters foul out in the Wizards’ 120-114 double-overtime victory on Nov. 25.
Detroit enters this contest after surviving to beat Chicago 106-101 on Wednesday. The Pistons outscored the Bulls 38-37 in the fourth quarter as Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace each scored 14 points in the period.
“That was kind of fun,” point guard Chauncey Billups said. “It was a high-tempo shootout until the end. Our offense is good, and we have some great offensive players, but defense is still what we do.”
The Pistons clinched a playoff berth with the victory, but they have bigger goals in mind with a second straight Central Division crown their next target.
“We want to keep this going and we’re all about the next game,” Billups said. “It’s not about the game after that or the game in two weeks. We’re just focusing on the next game.”
Washington is trying to avoid losing consecutive home games for the first time since dropping three straight from Dec. 30-Jan. 3. The Wizards have lost five of six overall after a 118-112 defeat at Miami on Wednesday.
Although Washington has allowed an average of 115 points over its last four games and five of its last eight opponents have shot at least 50 percent from the field, coach Eddie Jordan was satisfied with Wednesday’s effort.
“If we continue to play like that, we are going to be a pretty good team to finish the season,” Jordan said.
Washington is in sixth place in the crowded Eastern Conference with Philadelphia and Milwaukee close behind.