Wizards-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

Despite missing some key players, the Detroit Pistons are in the midst one of their best stretches of an otherwise difficult season.

They'll look to keep rolling against the same team they beat in thrilling fashion to begin their hot streak.

Detroit seeks its fifth win in six games Thursday night when it hosts the struggling Washington Wizards.

Rodney Stuckey hit a 20-foot jumper with 0.2 seconds remaining to give the Pistons a 79-77 win at Washington on March 26, capping a rally from a 13-point deficit.

Stuckey hurt his left hamstring two nights later in a win over Cleveland and has missed the last three games. He didn't practice Wednesday, but hasn't yet been ruled out for Thursday.

Ben Gordon also missed three games with a groin injury, but he returned Tuesday and scored 18 points to help Detroit (20-33) beat Orlando 102-95 at home.

Greg Monroe scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Magic, as the Pistons continue to make late-season strides after a 4-20 start.

"We've come together as a team," coach Lawrence Frank told the team's official website. "Every night, you expect to have a chance to win the game, where in December, January, you had no clue. You had no idea what was going to happen. (Now) you go in expecting to win, disappointed and surprised when you don't."

Ben Wallace, who became the 21st player to reach 7,000 defensive rebounds since the league began recording the statistic in 1973-74, said Frank's message has resonated.

"He's selling the dream that if we go out and play hard every night, we'll give ourselves a chance to win and that's all anybody wants is a chance to win," Wallace said. "Nobody can make a promise we're going to go out and win every night, but if you go out and play hard you give yourself a chance."

Monroe led all scorers with 27 points versus Washington on Feb. 12 in Detroit, though the Wizards won 98-77. That victory marked the first of two straight wins - the only time this season they've won back-to-back games.

Washington (12-42) fell 109-96 to Indiana on Wednesday for its third consecutive defeat and eighth in nine games. Detroit native Jordan Crawford scored a game-high 28 points.

The Wizards played their third straight game without both Nene and Trevor Booker, both suffering from plantar fasciitis in the left foot. Kevin Seraphin helped fill the void down low with a career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds. John Wall added 13 points for the Wizards, who will be playing their fourth game in five nights Thursday.

"In the third and fourth quarter, fatigue wore us down and they took the game away," Wall said.

The Pistons have won seven of their last eight visits to Detroit and nine of their last 11 overall matchups with the Pistons.

What to Read Next