Washington Wizards gain ground on Detroit Pistons, 106-100, in race for a shot at final NBA Eastern Conference playoff berth
By RICH DUBROFF
WASHINGTON — In a rebuilding season for the Washington Wizards, coach Scott Brooks still closely monitors the standings, and while it’s unlikely, he still believes his team has a chance to qualify for the playoffs.
The Wizards began the second half of the season by beating one of the teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference. Bradley Beal scored 29 points, Ian Mahinmi added 21 and Washington broke a three-game losing streak with a 106-100 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
Beal passed Wes Unseld for fourth place on the team’s career scoring list.
Washington is 14-26, but the Brooklyn Nets, who hold the eighth spot in the East, are only 18-24 after their loss to Philadelphia on Monday.
Chicago, Detroit and Charlotte are also ahead of Washington.
“I watch the games. I watch the standings,” Brooks said.
“We’re not talking about it. We’re just going to try to get better every game.”
Derrick Rose led Detroit with 21 points while Andre Drummond had 18 points and 16 rebounds.
The Pistons were trying to win three games in a row for the first time this season.
“We lost this game defensively, bro,” Rose said. “Second half, we just let them get anywhere on the court that they wanted.”
Drummond had a season-high nine turnovers.
“We can’t have our center having nine turnovers,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We want him to get the ball in to Rose. He’s got to make decisions, and he’s done a good job of that, but tonight he did not.
“And normally he and our bigs do a good job of catching it, kicking it out and making a play and not turning it over.”
There were 10 lead changes, four in succession early in the fourth quarter, and Davis Bertans’ 3-pointer with 9:02 to play gave the Wizards the lead for good.
Washington scored nine straight to take a 95-87 lead two minutes later.