The Washington Wizards led by as many as 11 points yet fell by 17 Sunday in a 106-89 road loss to the Detroit Pistons. Second year guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Detroit with a game-high 26 points, while Wizards center Marcin Gortat exploded for a season-high tying 24 points in the loss.
Gortat scored 12 of his 24 points in an unstoppable first quarter in which “The Polish Machine” went a perfect 6-for-6 from the field. Gortat couldn’t find the same luck in the second half, however, as the Pistons out-scored the Wizards 59-37. Nene, who struggled in the second half Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, finished with only 4 points. The Wizards are 21-5 this season when scoring 100 or more points, but they haven’t found a way to get there lately. In their last 10 games, Washington has scored 100 or more points only twice.
While Bradley Beal (mild stress reaction, right leg) remained out, Kevin Seraphin (flu-like symptoms) did make the trip following his one-game absence. He committed three fouls in 15 minutes and did not look especially sharp in his return. Guard Garrett Temple made a surprising 3-for-5 from downtown and added 12 points in a starting role, but team leader John Wall ended up an awful 5-for-16 from the field as he struggled to find his shot.
It’s not uncommon for Wall to take a high volume of shots this season. In fact, the Wizards are 12-3 when Wall attempts 17 or more shots in a game. Even so, Wall is prone to struggle some nights as he tries to carry Washington from the guard position. Reserve guard Rasual Butler started off the first 10 games of the season shooting 16-for-29 (55.2%) from three-point. In his last 10 games, Butler has shot 8-for-30 (26.7%). With Beal out and Butler at half efficiency, Washington needs an answer that is not very apparent.
Ramon Sessions had a very promising game in his second appearance as a Wizard and could prove as a form of hope. He finished with 7 points, 5 assists, and did not commit a turnover despite the loss. He also knocked down a three-pointer, an area of the field he has struggled from this season. Washington cannot expect Sessions to carry the offensive load, but as Seraphin returns to health–and Sessions learns the system–the Wizards should be moving their bench in the right direction. The biggest question, perhaps, remains to be the status of reserve guard Martell Webster. After 17 games, Webster’s season-high is only 6 points. He’s making 22.7% of his shots from deep and he’s not getting a lot of minutes as a result. If Butler continues to struggle–and if Webster can prove he is ready in practice–Washington might consider a minute swap, but there has been no sign of that kind of development thus far.
Washington will host the red-hot Golden State Warriors Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, CSN).