Pistons 98, Wizards 77
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—With two tough games coming up, the Detroit Pistons wanted an easy night and their 11th straight win.
The Washington Wizards were the perfect opponent.
Detroit led by as many as 30 points and rested the starting five in a 98-77 rout of the hapless Wizards on Friday night.
“It’s fun to be able to distribute minutes like that when you are in the middle of a tough stretch like this,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said. “Coaches are always concerned about games like this—the ones you are supposed to win—but we did a lot of good things tonight.”
The Pistons, who have won 11 straight for the first time since the 1990-91 season, can match the franchise record of 13 in a row with victories in Milwaukee on Saturday and at home against San Antonio on Monday.
“We came out and took care of business tonight—that’s what good teams do,” said Chauncey Billups, who finished with 12 points and 10 assists. “It was nice to watch the end from the bench and get some rest before tomorrow.”
The Wizards have lost 10 straight on the road and five in a row to Detroit.
“Detroit can take their game to another level, and that’s somewhere we can’t really go talent-wise,” Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. “But we certainly took a step backward tonight in the effort department, the discipline department and the composure department.”
Washington led early, but the Pistons reserves took control of the game with a 13-0 run early in the second quarter. Chucky Atkins had five points during the surge, which gave Detroit a 31-23 lead, and Corliss Williamson added four.
“Our job is to come off the bench and play as hard as we can—it doesn’t matter if we get the whole second quarter or only five minutes,” Atkins said. “We’ve been doing that all season—this was nothing new.”
Detroit led 49-35 at halftime, outshooting the Wizards 45.5 percent to 34.2 percent. Hamilton scored 12, and Prince added 10.
The Pistons quickly moved the margin out of reach in the third quarter.
“We just didn’t play defense,” Washington’s Larry Hughes said. “It’s very tough for this team right now. Everybody is playing different positions and we can’t even run our plays right.”
Darko Milicic, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, entered for Detroit with 8:55 left and finished with three rebounds and an assist in ninescoreless minutes.
The Wizards signed F Torraye Braggs to a 10-day contract. Braggs, who played 11 games for Houston earlier this season, was playing for Yakima in the CBA. … Washington F Christian Laettner sat out the third game of his five-game suspension for a substance-abuse violation. … The Pistons had their 13-game winning streak during the 1989-90 championship season. They also had a12-game streak that season.