Neither the Washington Wizards nor the Detroit Pistons will be in the playoffs.
The Wizards, though, are playing some of their best basketball of the season while the Pistons continue to falter.
Seeking a third consecutive win for the first time in four seasons, Washington will try to avoid a ninth straight loss to Detroit as the teams meet Tuesday night.
The Wizards, who last won three in a row April 4-9, 2008, beat Charlotte 97-91 on Sunday night for their third victory in four games and second straight on the road after losing 35 of their first 36 there.
“Back-to-back road wins are nice, but we’ve played at a pretty high level and had opportunities to win games over the last 10 (overall) or so,” coach Flip Saunders said. “We’ve had our best stretch of ball of late.”
After recording his first career triple-double with 21 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in Friday’s 115-107 win over Cleveland, rookie Jordan Crawford continued his impressive play with 23 points Sunday.
“We’re starting to get the mentality where we think we can,” said Crawford, averaging 27.0 points over his last four games. “When you think you can win then you can pull it off.”
Big man Andray Blatche also continues to step up, averaging 30.5 points and 18.0 rebounds in his last two.
The Wizards are averaging 104.6 points over their last five games – 7.7 more than their season mark – despite having played the last four without injured leading scorer Nick Young, who is questionable with an injured left knee.
Young, averaging 17.4 points, scored 21 in a 113-102 loss at Detroit on March 6 – the team’s eighth straight defeat in the series. The Wizards had lost two in a row to the Pistons at home by a combined five points prior to falling 99-90 on Jan. 12, 2010.
Detroit (26-50), which suffered its third straight loss and sixth in seven games with a 101-90 loss at Boston on Sunday, has lost 50 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1993-94 and 1994-95.
“The main thing, I think, is trying to finish out strong, compete every possession, and just try and get better at your craft,” said guard Will Bynum, who scored 20 points.
The Pistons are averaging just 95.4 points over their last seven despite shooting 48.2 percent from the floor. They are 7-41 when scoring 100 or fewer points.
Richard Hamilton, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Wizards, had 14 points against the Celtics.
Hamilton, scoring 14.4 points per game – his lowest total since recording 9.0 during his rookie season – is averaging 21.3 on 50.0 percent shooting in his last six contests.
Hamilton has made 9 of 17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range and is averaging 26.3 points during his last three visits to Washington.
Guard Rodney Stuckey was held out Sunday due to an internal matter and his status for this game is unknown.
“This is a growing process,” coach John Kuester told the Pistons’ official website, “and in that growing process, he had a slight setback.”
Stuckey is averaging 19.0 points in his last three road games.
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