Detroit Vs. Washington

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Last week, the Detroit Pistons insisted a postseason berth was still an attainable goal. Consecutive defeats have made that task even more difficult.

The Pistons will try to boost their faint chances while adding to the Washington Wizards’ road struggles Sunday night.

Despite continuing drama surrounding the club after a walkout protesting their coach late last month, forward Charlie Villanueva said Tuesday that a key decision was made about the team’s direction for the remainder of 2010-11.

“Are we going to have a terrible season or are we all going to come together and make a push? The guys decided we’re going to make a push,” he said.

Instead, the Pistons (22-41) lost 92-90 to Milwaukee later that night, followed Wednesday by a 116-105 defeat to Minnesota, which is last in the Western Conference.

The Pistons are 5 1/2 games behind eighth-place Indiana in the Eastern Conference.

“As a team, I think we got a little stagnant,” said center Greg Monroe, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds against the Timberwolves.

Austin Daye had a career-high 22 points and Richard Hamilton scored 11 in his first home game since Jan. 8. After being benched for all but one game over the previous six weeks, Hamilton was one of several players to skip at least part of the Pistons’ shootaround before a 16-point loss in Philadelphia on Feb. 25.

Hamilton has played in back-to-back games since he and coach John Kuester said Monday they had a talk that improved their relationship. The veteran swingman has averaged 10.5 points on 31.0 percent shooting in those contests, but Tracy McGrady has been benched for the past four games.

Tayshaun Prince has also missed four games with an ailing back. The Wizards, meanwhile, had to deal with the absences of starters Nick Young (flu) and Josh Howard (pulled left hamstring) before Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

Though dealing with his own illness, rookie Trevor Booker had three dunks on successive possessions in the fourth quarter to spur Washington to a 103-96 victory, snapping a seven-game slide. Andray Blatche had 20 points for the second straight game to lead five players in double figures.

“We didn’t know if we were even going to be able to play him,” coach Flip Saunders said of Booker. “It got to the point that we just needed some energy, maybe we could put him in and get a couple of minutes. He started going and I was afraid of taking him out because I didn’t know if we’d be able to get him back.”

Blatche and JaVale McGee each scored 20 points in Detroit on Nov. 21, but the Pistons pulled out a 115-110 overtime victory. Hamilton had 12 of his team-best 27 points in the extra session and Villanueva contributed 25 points and 11 rebounds in the seventh consecutive win over Washington (16-45).

The Pistons have also prevailed in six consecutive home matchups with the Wizards, who are an NBA-worst 1-28 on the road.

Saunders is expected to miss Sunday’s game, which comes two days after the death of his mother, Kay.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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