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Pistons 113, Wizards 102

The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Greg Monroe powered for 24 points and 16 rebounds, lifting the Detroit Pistons to a 113-102 victory over the Washington Wizards in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday at The Palace.

Josh Smith, Detroit's high-priced free agent acquisition from Atlanta during the offseason, supplied 19 points, five rebounds and five assists in his Pistons debut. Will Bynum contributed 19 points and five assists while Chauncey Billups had 16 points and five assists. Andre Drummond added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Pistons, who outscored the Wizards 56-28 in the paint.

Trevor Ariza led Washington with 28 points and 10 rebounds while John Wall had a double-double with 20 points and 11 assists. Bradley Beal chipped in 17 points.

Both teams carried playoff aspirations into the new season after 29-53 campaigns in 2012-13, but Detroit dominated virtually from the opening tap.

Washington trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but cut the deficit to six before Smith made a 3-pointer. Smith added a tip-in late in the quarter to give Detroit a 79-66 lead, but the Wizards pulled within 81-73 entering the fourth.

When Marcin Gortat tapped in a miss, Detroit's advantage was down to 89-85. Kyle Singler then answered with a three-point play and a Billups 3-pointer midway through the quarter put the Pistons back up by double digits, 97-87.

Another 3-pointer by Billups made it a 13-point spread, and the Wizards never seriously threatened from that point.

Detroit's interior strength was apparent early on, as it outscored Washington 32-8 in the paint while building a 55-43 halftime lead. Monroe and Drummond combined for 21 points and 18 rebounds while Smith kept the ball moving by collecting a team-high four assists.

Rookie guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made back-to-back baskets early in the second to give the Pistons a 39-29 lead. Smith found Monroe with an interior pass to nudge the lead to 12, 43-31, and Drummond scored Detroit's next basket with a putback dunk.

Monroe gave the Pistons their biggest lead of the half, 49-36, with a post move that shed two defenders for a layup.

Ariza kept his team in the game by scoring 17 first-half points, including five 3-pointers.

NOTES: Starting guard Brandon Jennings (hairline fracture of mandible) and Rodney Stuckey (fractured thumb) were inactive for Detroit. First-round pick Otto Porter (right hip flexor), who was unable to practice during training camp, missed the game for Washington. ... Billups, the NBA Finals MVP when Detroit defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004, made his first start with the Pistons since being traded early in the 2008-09 season to Denver. He rejoined the Pistons this season, signing a two-year free-agent contract. ... Detroit lost its previous four home openers. ... The Wizards' backcourt of Beal and Wall started just eight games together last season because of injuries. Washington was 6-2 in those games. ... Washington was 21-31 all-time in season openers and 10-23 on the road. ... The Pistons swept the four-game season series a year ago.
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