Editor's Note: For thoughts on the far bigger story of this game (potentially), scroll up or go here.
For three quarters, this was essentially a draw, but the Wizards great first quarter enabled them to get a big victory against the Pistons tonight. The Wizards jumped ahead early, even after Antawn Jamison was down, led by 12 after 1, and held on for the win.
Gilbert Arenas regained his swagger tonight with a spectacular all-around game, notching 36 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds. When he needed to score, he scored, breaking Detroit's back with two huge fourth-quarter threes. It was one of the best games he played all season.
What I found most encouraging about this win, however, was that (pardon the horrible cliche) it was a total team effort. No Wizard had a negative plus/minus today, and no Wizards was better than Etan Thomas' +6. Caron Butler struggled a bit on both ends, but everyone else played well. DeShawn Stevenson was awesome tonight, scoring 15 points, hitting key outside shots, and providing a highlight-reel dunk. Thomas had a really solid 9 point effort, Antonio Daniels played well, and even Calvin Booth and (gasp) Jarvis Hayes had their moments. Anytime Jarvis Hayes registers a positive +/- is cause for jubilation.
Essentially, this game proved my point in the open thread. Detroit's a good team, but they are inherently beatable. The Wizards match up well with them. Detroit's best offensive player is a shooting guard, whom the Wizards defend decently. Their power forward has the potential to kill the Wizards, but rarely does. They lack a shot blocker inside defensively, which allows the Wizards to cut backdoor and not worry about getting to the rim. In short, Detroit's a very traditional team that lacks a key part inside and doesn't have the tools to exploit the Wizards' key weaknesses. If Detroit and Washington play in a 7 game series somewhere along the line, I'd give the Wizards a great chance of winning.