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Wizards vs. Pistons preview: A crucial game awaits after a bad road trip

The Wizards' season is now on life support, and the national media gets to chime in.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Note from Jake and Albert:

So. Why are two people writing this preview? Let's give you the backstory.

It's a Sunday night, and both of us were working on the preview individually because it wasn't done just yet. After all, last Saturday's loss against the Nuggets was just hard to watch. Still the administrative task of moving onto the next game awaited us.

We were about to hit publish but noticed that another preview was about to get online. Instead of fighting over who has this piece, here's our combined take.

(* * *)

The Wizards (30-35) lost five games in a row, including all three games of a recent three-game Western Conference road trip. The last two games were blowout losses to the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets on back to back nights.

Tonight, they come back home to play the Detroit Pistons (34-32) in a crucial matchup between two teams who are in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Wizards' battle will be tough in order to get to the 8 seed, but it's still mathematically doable.

With a win, the Wizards would move to 2.5 games behind the Pistons for the eighth seed, and a chance to move another game up Wednesday against the ninth-seeded Bulls.Additionally, Washington would improve to 3-0 vs the Pistons this season and ensure they would have the tiebreaker over the Pistons if they finish with the same record.

Obviously, the Wizards would still have a lot of work to do to get from Point A to Point B, but it's a step in the right direction after a week of going the wrong way.

Game Info

When - 8 p.m. EDT

Where - Verizon Center in Washington D.C.

TV - The game is available nationally on ESPN. Local fans can watch the game on CSN Mid-Atlantic as well. If you're in the Detroit area, Fox Sports Detroit will air the game.

Online - ESPN and NBA League Pass outside of the US of A.

Radio - 99.1 WNEW in the D.C. area.

Who's injured?

For the Wizards, Bradley Beal is questionable due to the sprained pelvis injury he suffered last week. Alan Anderson sat out last Saturday's game but he should be back. For the Pistons, Spencer Dinwiddie is out due to an ankle injury.

Jake's Wiz Killer of the night: Tobias Harris

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Harris played his first game as a Piston against the Wizards last month and wasted no time getting comfortable, scoring 21 points on just 12 shots in his debut.

Harris has kept up the hot shooting ever since. He's shooting 51.6 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from deep, and he's averaging four more points per game than he did in Orlando.

If the Wizards can't find a way to slow the momentum they helped Harris establish last month, they'll have a hard time getting the same result from last month.

Albert's Wiz Killer of the Night: The Wizards' psyches

All five of Detroit's starters (Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris, Marcus Morrishave averaged in double figures over their last five games and played over 30 minutes a game each. Reggie Bullock is the only other Pistons player who averaged at least 20 minutes a game in that stretch. But let's be honest with the Wiz Killer thing.

The Wiz Killer at this point is the team's mental state and it isn't even close.

Washington lost five games in a row and hasn't looked competitive at all. The last three games and losses came on the road. Now that they're back at home, it's tempting to relax a little bit. After all, traveling is no easy task.

But the bottom line is that this first game back at home after a three-game road trip remains critical. If they're still in "Thank god I'm back at home" mode, you can easily see this as a laugher on national TV. Hopefully, that won't happen.