Markieff Morris scored a season-high 23 points and Tomas Satoransky added a career-high 17 points off the bench as the Wizards defeated the Pistons 109-91 on Friday night.
After missing the playoffs last year, Detroit has been one of the NBA’s success stories so far this season. Coming into Friday’s game they had the second-best record in the East. The Wizards had lost 5 of their last 7.
The game started with slow, methodical half-court offense and not a whole lot of defense from either team. The Pistons turned up the pressure in the second quarter, using a 16-2 run to put the Wizards back on their heels.
Washington bounced back in the third quarter, opening with a 17-0 and ultimately outscoring the Pistons 35-15. The team tightened their defense, which allowed them to get out in transition (they scored just 2 fast break points in the first half, but had 9 in the second). It also helps when you have players who can make ridiculous shots like this one:
Here's a difficult jumper that Otto made look routine. #WizPistons pic.twitter.com/aUHHtqcnIx— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 2, 2017
The Pistons rallied, cutting the lead to 11 more than once. But the Wizards kept their composure, and buoyed by a fantastic fourth quarter from Tomas Satoransky, Washington walked away with a comfortable 109-91 victory.
Ball movement wins games
The Wizards are not a team accustomed to heavy ball movement. But without Wall and his ability to individually make defenses panic, the team has had to find new ways to manufacture points. When the offense worked tonight, it worked because of exceptional ball movement. Seven players had at least 2 assists, lead by Porter’s 7. The Wizards managed to avoid letting their offense become stagnant late in the game, trusting each other to make the right plays instead of playing hero ball.
Tomas Satoransky had his best game as a Wizard, scoring 17 points on 5 of 6 shooting. He was 2 of 2 from three and had 4 assists. The second year guard looked assertive and comfortable running the offense, and he had some spectacular defensive moments against the quicker Ish Smith in the first half. #FreeSato continues to gain steam!
Sato GRIT. #WizPistons pic.twitter.com/gtPtpYayT2— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 2, 2017
Time to end the no-point guard lineups
Tim Frazier has had Scott Brooks’ trust as the interim starting point guard in Wall’s absence, and Satoransky has turned a number of heads of late. Frazier is the better ball handler, and Satoransky the better defender. Both players are at worst serviceable caretakers for the offense until Wall returns.
Given that, it’s baffling why Scott Brooks continues to experiment with no-point guard lineups, running Bradley Beal out with Jodie Meeks. While Beal’s playmaking has improved considerably over the years, the offense looks choppy and unbalanced with him as the primary playmaker. As long as Satoransky continues to play well, Brooks should ditch the no-point guard lineups.
- The Wizards owned the paint, outscoring the Pistons 54-38.
- Andre Drummond tied his career high with 7 assists. He also had 17 rebounds. Despite Drummond’s monster rebounding performance, the Wizards out-rebounded the Pistons 49-32.
- Following a one-on-one film session with Brooks, Markieff Morris had his best game of the year, scoring 23 points, grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing 3 assists. He also had his first dunk of the year:
Markieff Morris slams it home on the fastbreak. pic.twitter.com/gCxfw7fcQD— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) December 2, 2017
- Free chicken. Thanks Boban!
Next up: The Wizards kick off a five-game road trip with a game in Utah on Monday at 9 p.m.