The Washington Wizards fell Wednesday in a 96-85 road loss to the Detroit Pistons. The loss put an end to a four game win streak for the Wizards, who enter the 2013 NBA All-Star Break with a record of 15-36.
Tied 70-all with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter, the Pistons went on a 6-0 run. Charlie Villanueva and Rodney Stuckey got to the free throw line and each split a pair, Will Bynum sank a floating jumper on his way to 20 points off the bench, and center Viacheslav Kravstov finished an alley-oop pass from Bynum. Everything was working for Detroit.
Washington rallied back and tied the game 76-all with 5:07 left to play thanks to the play of Nene, Trevor Ariza, and John Wall, who finished the night with 16 points and 9 assists. But between the play of Bynum, who scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth, and the three-point accuracy of new Pistons guard Jose Calderon (game-high 24 points, 6-for-9 from deep), Detroit finished the final five minutes and change on a 20-9 run.
The Wizards did something they often do while struggling against the pace of an opposing offense: they entered a scoring drought. From the 5:07 mark to 2:26 left to play Washington went dry. Rookie Bradley Beal went 0-for-3 during that stretch and finished the game with 10 points off the bench on 5-for-13 shooting.
The Wizards needed to lose no more than six games if they wanted to achieve .500 ball. Now it's five games. With 31 games left, it's going to be a tall order. The first game back, a home game against the Toronto Raptors (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET, CSN), will be one of Washington's most important games to win. It will set the pace for not only the start of the second half of the season, but for the first of four meetings with the Raptors.