WASHINGTON (AP) – The Detroit Pistons got the most out of playing the Washington Wizards in a home-and-home series.
On Saturday night, they won their second in as many nights, both over the woeful Wizards.
Charlie Villanueva tied a season high with 19 points, Rodney Stuckey added 18 and the Pistons beat the Wizards, 96-87.
It was only the second time this season that Detroit has won two straight.
The Wizards, who trailed throughout the game, have lost seven straight and dropped to an NBA-worst 3-22.
It got so bad for Washington that coach Randy Wittman said that he had intentionally got a technical foul midway through the first quarter with his team in the midst of missing 14 of its first 15 shots.
He was hoping for a second, which would mean getting ejected from the game.
“I’ve been trying to get thrown out for a while. These guys won’t even throw me out,” Wittman said.
Had he been spared the rest of the game, Wittman would have missed Detroit grabbing 58 rebounds for the second straight night.
“It’s just the effort we’re giving,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said.
The Wizards closed to 88-81 with 6:15 to play, but didn’t score for nearly four minutes as Detroit built a 94-81 lead with 2:55 to play.
Jordan Crawford, who scored his only point of the first half with 1:05 to play, scored 20 in the second half to lead Washington with 21. Emeka Okafor had 14 points and tied a season high with 14 rebounds.
After the Pistons beat the Wizards by 32 on Friday night, Wittman called their performance embarrassing. A day later, he said: “We went through the motions.”
He said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort in the follow-up game.
“Our ball movement and passing was much better,” Wittman said.
Detroit had lost six straight before the consecutive wins over the Wizards. The Pistons are just 3-13 on the road.
“We just got to continue to build our habits. It’s obviously good to taste wins especially when we’ve lost a bunch in a row,” Frank said.
Detroit has three days off before playing at Atlanta on Wednesday.
“It was very important for us to get these two wins and hopefully we carry that momentum into the next game. We need to keep playing the way we’ve been playing as far as locking down on the defensive end and rebounding the ball, we’ve been doing that well these past couple games,” Villanueva said.
The Pistons weren’t terrific, but they didn’t make any major errors.
Washington made one in the first quarter. Kevin Seraphin was alone by the basket, and instead of an easy layup, he tried a reverse dunk – and the ball spun out.
Washington shot just 17.4 percent (4 for 23) in the first quarter and trailed 22-13. Detroit shot 36 percent.
“The last two games were embarrassing. There’s no word better than that,” Nene said.
With the Wizards off for the next three days, Wittman started Nene for the first time this season. Nene has missed 12 of Washington’s 25 games with a left foot injury.
The Wizards’ Cartier Martin helped cut the lead to seven, but a few moments later, Detroit hit three straight 3-pointers for a 39-22 lead and the Pistons led at halftime 54-35.
In the second half, Detroit built its largest lead, 59-37 a little more than two minutes into the third quarter, but Tayshaun Prince sprained his right ankle in a collision, left the game and did not return.
“We’ll know more in the next couple of days but right now I think we’re labeling it as a sprain,” Frank said.
Washington ran off 10 straight to get within 59-47 with 7:08 to play, got within six with just about four minutes remaining in the quarter and trailed 74-64 after three.
Villanueva had seven points in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter as the Pistons held off Washington.
“Playing a team back to back is very difficult, especially the way we won (Friday) night,” Villanueva said. “We knew they were going to come out and give us all they had. Give them credit, they made their run, but we stayed poised and made the plays and got the stops that we needed.”
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)