Detroit won for just the second time in nine games, while the Wizards lost their sixth straight. Washington finishes a rare back-to-back-to-back set when it hosts Orlando on Saturday. Bynum became the first Piston to record 20 assists since Isiah Thomas in 1985, and just the third player to reach the mark in the NBA this season, joining Steve Nash(twice) and Darren Collison.
As the closing seconds wound down, the Pistons added to the humiliation. Point guard Will Bynum, starting in place of Rodney Stuckey, picked up his career-high 20th assist with 3.2 seconds remaining, when Ben Gordon buried a long jumper and stumbled into the Wizards' bench. The shot infuriated Wizards assistant coach Randy Wittman, who shouted toward the Pistons' bench. Pistons Coach John Kuester later apologized as he headed to the locker room. Asked afterward if he was upset, Blatche said: "You can be, but you can't be. Guys in this league, they got their own accomplishments that they're trying to meet. It's our job to stop them. If they make a play at the end of the game like that, that's our fault. We can't criticize them because of it. It's part of the game."
The Wizards looked like their running with weights, while the Pistons looked they were rolling on skates. Once the Pistons built a 12-point lead in the first quarter, the Wizards were forced to play uphill, powered by fumes. "You can't make any excuses on back-to-backs, because everybody plays them," Mike Miller said. "It's not like it is our first one of the year or anything like that. We just need to continue to play and find ways to win games."
Andray Blatche led the Wizards with 23-points and 10-rebounds and played through fatigue to finish 11 of 22 from the field after struggling for the first three quarters. Unfortunately for the Wizards JaVale McGee was unable to produce an encore performance and was limited to four points and four rebounds. "As good as JaVale was last night, and some said he has All Star potential, he was more like a CBA All star tonight," Saunders said of McGee who scored a career high 20 points on Thursday against the Hawks.
Talking with a friend last night, I sought to pin Blatche down as a mixture of -- no disrespect meant to either here -- mid-period Kevin Garnett and any-year Antawn Jamison. This part is important so, listen: What he lacks in KG's intensity, he makes up for in Jamison's head-scratching ingenuity. On top of all this, no NBA player's name lends itself as well to goofy nicknames, mostly pop song-based, than Blatche. I said while on vacation that Tyreke Evans was named with headlines in mind. Blatche was born to rock: "Blatche is Blatche"; "Back in Blatche"; "Say It Loud, I'm Blatche and I'm Proud"; "'Till Blatche Do Us Part." The Blatche Keys, which might also be a sly commentary on his career arc. You can even go hip-hop -- maybe Blatche Moon, or Blatche After Blatche ... or what about Blatche Metal Night at the Verizon Center, complete with make-up for everyone. Maybe even the man himself.
I detailed Andray Blatche's recent success in the game thread, but seeing him in action is something else. He's very physical and difficult to defend in the post. If he improves his mid-range jumper he can be one of the top offensive power fowards in the game.