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Pistons roar to lead before half, beat Wizards
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. | As difficult a season as the Detroit Pistons are having, they’ve cornered the market on one commodity: tall players who can shoot from the perimeter.
Charlie Villanueva scored all 16 of his points in the second quarter, and Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye added some big shots in the second half to help the Pistons beat the Washington Wizards 113-102 on Sunday night.
The 6-foot-11 Villanueva made three 3-pointers, then added a conventional three-point play that started a 10-0 run that put Detroit ahead 60-49 shortly before halftime. The 6-foot-9 Prince then added 10 points in the third quarter and the 6-foot-11 Daye scored seven in the fourth as the Wizards struggled to match up.
“I just tried to come off the bench and provide the team with a spark,” Villanueva said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me and were moving the ball great.”
Prince, who has been bothered by back problems, finished with 20 points in his first appearance in five games.
John Wall had 24 points and seven assists for the Wizards, who dropped to 1-29 on the road. Detroit has won eight straight over Washington.
The Wizards (16-46) went on a 13-5 run early in the fourth quarter, cutting Detroit’s lead to three with 6:55 remaining, but Washington lost track of Greg Monroe near the basket, and the rookie’s three-point play made it 92-86.
Wizards coach Flip Saunders missed the game, as expected, two days after the death of his mother. Randy Wittman ran the team in his place.
“We didn’t get any stops down the stretch tonight is what it boiled down to,” Wittman said. “They hurt us with Tayshaun and (Rodney) Stuckey pick-and-roll and kind of hurt us every which way. Daye hit some 3s, they got some offensive rebounds and overall down the stretch you have to get some stops and we didn’t tonight.”
Washington was without forward Rashard Lewis, who was out with a sore right knee, and forward Josh Howard, who missed the game because of a strained left hamstring.
Villanueva has been content to stay on the perimeter for much of the season. He has made a career-high 105 shots from 3-point range and is shooting 38 percent from long distance. Daye, in his second season, is shooting 42 percent on 3-pointers. He made two Sunday, including one with 2:16 to play that made it 105-94.
Prince scored six of Detroit’s points in a row toward the end of the third, the last two on a 16-footer that made it 80-71.
“I felt slow in the first quarter, because it was tough to get loose, but it felt better the second time I went into the game,” Prince said. “The biggest problem I’ve had is being able to push off with the hip, but there wasn’t any pain tonight. I had some stiffness, but I’ll get that treated so I’m not too sore in the morning.”
Stuckey had 19 points and nine assists for the Pistons (23-41), who went 12 of 18 in the fourth quarter and shot 52 percent for the game.
“I thought we made a conscious effort in our driving and kicking, and guys were sharing the basketball and were very unselfish,” Detroit coach John Kuester said.
By John R. Bolton
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