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Detroit Pistons stage impressive third-quarter rally but lose to Washington Wizards

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After a physically and emotionally grueling home game on Friday night, the Pistons had to make their way to face the Washington Wizards and end a grueling back to back.

It was clear in the first few minutes of the game that the Pistons would be challenged to keep close. It became more noticeable in the third quarter when the Wizards were 30 points ahead and appeared to be on their way to an easy blowout win.

The pistons fought their way back into the game and made it interesting. They reduced the lead to three early in the fourth quarter but didn’t have enough to quit the job and fell to the Wizards (106-92) on Saturday night at the Capital One Arena.

“We shouldn’t have a chance to lose 25 points (at halftime),” said coach Dwane Casey. “It wasn’t anything Washington did. They have some talented players, but our focus and give-a-crap level has been very low. “

In the fourth quarter, after their big rally, the Pistons (12-33) gave up a 19-4 Wizards run groped by Russell Westbrook who did his 15th triple double of the season with 19 points, 19 rebounds and 10 Had assists.

BOX SCORE: Wizards 106, Pistons 92

Rui Hachimura (14 points) hit a jumper at 9:09 a.m. to start the crucial series and Westbrook scored on a lay-in. Hachimura had six more points during the run and the Wizards extended the lead to 99-83 with 3:45 left to stave off the shocking turnaround.

Wayne Ellington (15 points) was the engine behind the Pistons’ 32:11 breakout in the third quarter. He had three 3-pointers in just over a minute and ended the quarter with four 3-pointers. The Wizards (16-28) finished the run with a three-point game from Daniel Gafford (13 points) and took the lead in the fourth quarter with 79-73.

After a 3-pointer from Garrison Mathews, Isaiah Stewart (11 points and eight rebounds) had two putbacks that reduced the lead to 82-79 with 10:17. That was the next path the pistons made the rest of the way.

Washington Wizards security guard Russell Westbrook (4) grabs the ball next to butt center Isaiah Stewart (28) in the second half.

“We come back to back and we have to be ready to play,” said Stewart. “The way we played in this third quarter, we have to be from the start.”

In the first quarter, the Wizards dominated the color with eight points each from Gafford and Alex Len (12 points). The Pistons were leading 16-14 after a jumper from Mason Plumlee (11 points and eight rebounds), but the Wizards had a 15-3 run by dominating in the color, with a coast-to-bus drive and a highlight Reel-Dunk from Hachimura.

Stewart responded with a putback, but Gafford scored in an alley and the indoor standings were way too easy for the Wizards, who were 33-22 ahead of the first quarter.

They extended the lead to 68-41 at halftime, with the Pistons, shooting 39% off the field in the game, playing slower.

Jerami Grant sustained a knee injury in the third quarter, but Casey had no information on his status in the aftermath. The Pistons won’t play again until Monday, hosting the Toronto Raptors at Little Caesars Arena.

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Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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Dusty Kennedy