AUBURN HILLS, Mich. | After 11 NBA seasons, Richard Hamilton knows his days as an elite scorer are probably over.
He’s still capable of lighting things up on occasion, though.
“I still enjoy playing this game, and I’m always going to work hard out there,” said Hamilton, who came into the night averaging just 12.1 points. “When they need me, like they did tonight, I’m going to be ready.”
Hamilton’s overtime heroics wouldn’t have been possible without Charlie Villanueva’s performance in regulation. Villanueva had 25 points and 10 rebounds in the first 48 minutes, and also blocked Gilbert Arenas‘ 3-point attempt that would have put the Wizards up by five with 1:17 left.
“I was just determined to win this game,” Villanueva said. “In the end, Rip did what we needed from him. He’s been struggling, so it is always good to see him get going like that.”
Kuester even got some coaching help from veteran Tracy McGrady.
“Tracy came up with a play, and we got two huge 3-pointers out of it in the fourth quarter — Will Bynum got one and Charlie got one,” Kuester said. “That’s how you know you are coming together as a team — when guys speak up in situations like that.”
Wizards rookie star John Wall missed his fourth straight game because of a sprained left foot. He was on the Wizards‘ active list, and coach Flip Saunders said before the game that he hoped to get a few minutes out of him, but Wall ended up watching in street clothes.
“We played a great game, so this one hurts,” Arenas said. “The blowouts don’t hurt — it is the ones you should have won. We should have won this, but I had two key turnovers.”
Washington only scored 17 points in the first quarter, but came alive against the Pistons‘ backup in the second. The Wizards hit eight of their first nine shots and finished the quarter with 38 points to take a 55-52 lead.
Detroit cut it to 78-77 after three, but Washington took advantage of the same matchups that had given them the big second quarter. The Wizards were up 96-89 with 5:17 to go, but Villanueva answered with his fourth 3-pointer of the game.
Five straight points from Andray Blatche put the Wizards up 102-98 with 1:40 left, but Villanueva’s block led to his tying layup with 20.9 seconds to go. Blatche had an open 3-pointer at the buzzer, but missed to set up overtime.
NOTES: The Pistons had to stop a promotion involving their mascot and a frozen turkey when the thawing bird dripped water in several parts of the floor. … Arenas and McGee had double-doubles by the end of the third quarter. … Several Pistons greeted Saunders — their former coach — before the game, although Ben Wallace did not. … Detroit’s Austin Daye didn’t play after starting the last two games.