The Washington Wizards easily dispatched the Detroit Pistons 101-87 at home for their second straight win Monday afternoon as the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Seven Wizards scored in double figures, led by Trevor Ariza, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Center Thomas Bryant also recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“It’s a spectacular day remembering MLK and what he stood for and the legacy he left for us all today,” said Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who finished with 16 points four assists. “It feels even better to get a win.”
Washington (20-26) has now won four of its past five games and is 7-4 since All-Star point guard John Wall underwent season-ending surgery on his left heel last month.
The Wizards attacked the Pistons early with 22 points in the paint in the first quarter. Washington, which ranks near the bottom of the league in rebounding, outrebounded the Detroit Pistons 45-40, undoubtedly helped by the absence of Pistons center Andre Drummond, who leads the NBA in rebounding at nearly 15 per game but sat Monday while in concussion protocol.
Detroit (20-26), a top-10 rebounding team, only pulled down two offensive boards. In addition, the Pistons scored only 34 points in the first half, one of the lowest scoring halves Washington has surrounded this season.
“I thought the defense was outstanding,” said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. “We’re really good when we give ourselves a chance to win every night if we can win the rebounding game.”
Detroit power forward Blake Griffin notched a game-high 29 points and nine rebounds, but received little help, with Reggie Bullock the only other Piston to score in double figures with 12.
“We started playing in the second half,” said Pistons head coach Dwane Casey. “That was a concern going into [an] afternoon game. No excuse for it. We’re professional players, no matter what time the schedule says.”
The Wizards will end a six-game homestand Thursday against Prince George’s County native Kevin Durant and the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors. The Warriors defeated Washington 144-122 on Oct. 24 behind Stephen Curry’s 51 points.
Washington has made the most of the lengthy stretch of home games, winning four of the first five including Thursday’s victory over the New York Knicks in London, which counted as a home game for the Wizards.
“We [can] continue to keep the streak going,” Beal said. “We have a tough team coming in later this week. We just have to continue to build off of it.”