Unlike the last time Washington and Detroit had a get together, I don't think last night's match-up will blow up the talk radio lines, but it did lead to some nice reactions from the media.
With 2:21 to go in the game the tide would change, as McGuire blocked a Jonas Jerebko jumper which led to a Mike Miller three point dagger, the score 95-91, Wizards. The Pistons Austin Daye looked for contact and sunk 1-for-2 from the free throw line to give Detroit some swing, but McGee came back with a connection from James to make it 97-92, Wizards, with only 1:10 to go in the game. In the final minute, Detroit needed a spark. Bynum went for a drive and scored three points on an and-one situation from the line, making it a two-point, 97-95 contest in the Wizards favor. James missed a three point shot with 39.5 seconds left, and it looked like Detroit might tie or steal the game, but Miller came up big for Washington with a pass interception. The Detroit turnover led to two free throws from Nick Young, who sank both, 99-95, Wizards, with 12.7 seconds remaining.
Flip Saunders said after the game that he is trying to help McGee "fight through that wall" by playing him extended minutes, to see if he can produce even while fatigued. Saunders was pleased to see McGee finish strong in the fourth period, when he scored eight points -- all on dunks. "He's been good," Saunders said of McGee, who is averaging 11.8 points and shooting 73 percent from the floor. "He's been very productive with what he's done. I tell our guys, 'If he's even, he's ahead.' No one is going to jump with him. Just throw that thing up there and let him go get it." McGee can always be spotted putting his index finger up whenever he runs down the floor. The kid is ever ready for the lob. "To me, that's the easiest way you get the ball in the rim. 'Cause ain't nobody going to jump with me," McGee said. "Even if they do, I can catch the ball over them. So that's the easy play. It's harder for me to go to the post and pass it to me. I got to look around and make the play."
It was the Pistons' first exhibition loss, and the main culprit was a defense that allowed the Wizards to shoot 46.8% Tuesday night -- a far cry from the 39.9% the team brought into the game. "I thought it was a good test for us," Pistons coach John Kuester said. "It just gets back to transition defense. You've got to make sure you get back."
The Wizards don't have a very good defensive backcourt, but they do have really big guards in Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, Caron Butler and Mike Miller, which perhaps caused some shooting problems for the smaller Gordon and Stuckey. The smallest guard, Will Bynum, however, continued his great preseason with 23 points. He's leading the team in scoring this preseason at about 18 per game.
Will Bynum nearly pulled off a victory by himself, by Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizard ultimately prevailed, 101-98. The loss was the first of the pre-season for the Pistons, who fall to 3-1. Nonetheless, Detroit remained competitive in spite of facing the Wizards’ A-Squad. Chris Wilcox got the starting nod, not Ben Wallace, who had been effective in spelling the injured Charlie Villanueva.
Arenas netted 24 points on 9-11 shooting in just under 28 minutes of action. The Wizards led by as many as 13 points when Arenas was in the game and by seven when Arenas saw his last action of the night after the third quarter. Thanks to monster dunks from Michigan native (and my high school), JaVale McGee, the Wizards were able to hold off the Pistons' fourth quarter push and prevail 101-98.
Arenas, holding back a smile, slowly buttoned his shirt, with his back to reporters. "C'mon, Gil. It doesn't matter how long it takes you, they ain't going nowhere ... You're almost out of buttons!" Antawn Jamison tried to help Arenas from his corner locker room stall. "You guys can talk to me. I'm ready," he said. Mike Miller, standing near Arenas, also tried to deflect attention. "You can talk to me. I'm wearing LeBron's shoes tomorrow. I figure you guys want to talk about that."
"I think as a coach you always learn," said Saunders, who also coached the Minnesota Timberwolves. "There are a lot of things that I brought from a standpoint when I was in Minnesota, and there are a lot of things that I learned in Detroit that I brought to Washington with the idea of always trying to do things to help give your players a better opportunity to have success."
Blatche might appear to be a bit tardy in making his declaration to finally get serious about his career, but for Antawn Jamison, one of Blatche's most vocal critics, it's better now than never. "He's put a smile on my face," Jamison said. "That's what we need out of [Blatche]. If we can have him playing at a very high level, it makes us even more dangerous. I want him to achieve the best out of his talents. I thought in the past, he could've did more. But just seeing his approach and the way he's been playing and how seriously he's been playing, that's a good sign. He can make this season really good with his play."
Twitter / Truth_About_It
Evidently, Flip Saunders said that Gil Arenas has been his best "off-ball" defender in the preseason.
Twitter / Michael Lee
This unit with CB, AJ, GA, FO & MM is looking really good. Miller not interested in scoring but doing everything else - 8 rbs, 3 asts. 58-48
Twitter / Michael Lee
Don't know if he needs to get fined 25 Gs every game, but Arenas is balling without all that extra money weighing him down. Got 21 pts
Twitter / Mike Jones
Gilbert Arenas scores a preseason high 24 points, and drops 5 more dimes.
Twitter / Mike Jones
But with six turnovers against Det, he's now got 18 in four preseason games. 7.75 assist avg not as impressive considering 4.5 TO a game.