- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2022

DETROIT — Kristaps Porzingis had 30 points and 10 rebounds and the Washington Wizards held on to beat the Detroit Pistons 100-97 on Friday night.

The Wizards had lost eight of nine, falling 114-102 at Milwaukee on Thursday night.

“I didn’t think we played the way we needed to play last night against Milwaukee — that’s not the way we want to finish this season,” Porzingis said. “We focused on playing tonight’s game with a lot more energy and doing the things we need to do.”



Deni Avdija added 21 points and 10 rebounds to help the Wizards sweep the four-game season series.

“I really liked the way we started the game, but there was also a lot of good things about the way we finished,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “They amped up their pressure and got back into the game, but that’s the nature of the NBA. We were able to overcome them and make some plays down the stretch to win the game.”

Marvin Bagley III led Detroit with 25 points, and Cade Cunningham added 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Forward Jeremi Grant left in the first quarter with a strained calf and did not return.

“I thought we did a great job on defense in the second half, but we can’t start games like we did tonight,” Isaiah Stewart said. “We know how tough it is to beat that team, and we needed to play that way from the start.”

After trailing by 17, the Pistons took a 91-90 lead on Saddiq Bey’s 3-pointer with 5:01 to play, then added a lob from Cunningham to Bagley.

The Wizards countered, scoring the next six points. They took a 96-93 lead on Porzingis‘ dunk with 2:48 left.

Cunningham’s jumper made it 96-95, and after two Wizards misses, he put Detroit up 97-96 with 45 seconds left. Porzingis answered with a fadeaway jumper to give Washington a one-point lead with 29.5 seconds to play.

This time, Cunningham missed and the Pistons fouled Avdija, who made both shots to make it 100-97 with 11.4 seconds left. McGruder’s off-balance 3-pointer missed, and Porzingis grabbed the clinching rebound.

“Deni was great out there tonight,” Unseld said. “He got into a rhythm early and he was playing downhill all night. That’s what gave me the opportunity to use him and Kristaps together down the stretch, and they helped us on both ends of the floor.”

Washington outscored Detroit 35-20 in the second quarter to take a 60-44 lead.

“I’m not going to say I’m happy about the way we played in the second half, because we’re going to keep losing if we only play one good half,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We gave up 35 points in the second quarter and 40 in the second half, so which team are we?”

Avdija had 13 points in the quarter as the Wizards outshot Detroit 55% to 29.2%.

“We’ve been seeing glimpses of this from Deni, but he stepped up big tonight,” Porzingis said. “It’s huge he makes the kind of impact he did tonight.”

TIP INS

Wizards: Washington has won five straight over the Pistons and has taken the season series in six of the last seven seasons.

Pistons: Said Friday that Hamdou Diallo will miss the rest of the season with a broken finger. Diallo averaged 11.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 58 games.

NEXT UP

Wizards: Host Golden State on Sunday night.

Pistons: Host New York on Sunday.

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