Wizards vs. Pistons preview: The quest for .500 continues

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards shoot for .500 as they head to Detroit for their second game in a row against the Pistons. Here's what you need to know.

Only 48 hours after shellacking the Detroit Pistons at home, the Washington Wizards head to Motown for a rematch. Nothing of note other than Washington's win has happened since Saturday's preview, so all of this still applies. Despite being in the middle of the season against a team that's about as mediocre as they come, this game does in fact carry a lot of significance for the Wizards: If they win tonight, they'll get back to .500 at 14-14.

Where and when? Tonight's game is at 7:30 p.m. in Detroit.

Are they good? As I mentioned two days ago, Detroit is a team that's OK now but could be good once they have more experience playing together. Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond all on the floor at the same time could conceivably work down the road. For now, though, the team is a stunning -8.8 points per 100 possessions when all three share the court per NBA.com/stats.

What (else) are they good at? In addition to crushing it on the offensive glass, the Pistons are good at getting shots at the rim, with 51% of their field goal attempts coming around the basket. For the sake of comparison, Washington takes about 39% of their shots from this area, and they're still above the league average. Drummond can dunk practically any pass thrown within five feet of the basket and Stuckey is good at getting all the way to the rim off the dribble. Smith doesn't help out much in the halfcourt, especially when playing small forward, but still runs the floor very well when he plays power forward.

What (else) are they bad at? The Pistons are horrible from deep. They're 24th in the NBA in three point attempt rate and 29th in three point percentage ... and Josh Smith says 'you're welcome'. Smoove's shot selection is the thing of legend and playing the wing has brought out the worst in him. Before I go any further, I'd like to remind everyone that Smith is a legendary finisher around the rim and has the quickness to get to the basket on a regular basis. Now, with that said, he's shooting 26% from deep, 27% of his field goal attempts are three pointers, and he's second on the Pistons in three point attempts behind Brandon Jennings. Granted, the rest of the team isn't that great, but no one else on the team or, for that matter, in the league can match Smith's combination of poor shooting and love of the three ball.

Who's going to win? I expect Detroit to play a lot better tonight and they should eke out a win. Detroit played worse than normal and Washington played better than normal Saturday and there should be some regression to the mean for both teams. If Washington wins, it's going to be in a much closer game, and come largely as a result of continued dominance by Wall.

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