When: Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, Michigan
TV: NBC Sports Washington
Win probability: Washington has a 48 percent chance of winning according to Kevin Broom’s Win Predictor and a 45 percent chance of winning according to FiveThirtyEight.
Wizards: John Wall (QUESTIONABLE, Knee)
Pistons: Jon Leuer (Out, Ankle)
What to Watch for
How will Washington handle the new Pistons?
The Pistons traded for Blake Griffin a little over a week after the last time these two met back in January, so this is Washington first look at Detroit since their big shakeup.
The results have been mixed so far for Detroit. Their record is almost identical to what it was before the deal, and their net rating is up, but only slightly. They won their first four games after Griffin joined the team, but are 5-8 in March. Seven of their eight losses were against playoff-bound teams, but only one of their five wins was against a playoff team. In other words, it’s what you’d expect from a team too good to tank but not good enough to make the playoffs.
In the short-term, the trade hasn’t done much to elevate the Pistons’ ceiling, it’s just changed the way they do things. Still, that could be enough to throw the Wizards off their game here. Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond can hurt the Wizards on the interior, where they’ve struggled recently. If they can get someone in early foul trouble it could set Washington up for a long, unpleasant evening.
A random moment in Wizards - Pistons history: The Malones push the Bad Boys to the limit
The Bullets spent the eighties stuck on the treadmill of mediocrity. They made it to the playoffs seven times, but their lone playoff series victory came in a best-of-three series against the New Jersey Nets in 1982.
They made their last early exit count in a hard-fought series against the eventual Eastern Conference champions. Moses Malone averaged 18 & 11 against the Pistons’ stacked frontcourt, but the real hero was Jeff Malone who averaged 31 points per game in the first four games until the Pistons broke out the Jordan Rules on him in Game 5 and held him to 4 points on 1-of-12 shooting.