Wizards' comeback falls just short against Pistons

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Sloppy play early too much to overcome

Trevor Ariza hit two 3-pointers and converted a pair of free throws in the final 61 seconds but missed from the corner at the buzzer, allowing the Detroit Pistons to complete a season sweep of the Wizards with a 96-95 victory before 14,298 at Verizon Center.

While the Pistons (23-37) had 35 assists on 39 field goals, including a season high-matching 18 from Jose Calderon, the Wizards (18-38) struggled in John Wall's third game in the last seven with seven turnovers, which far outweighed his six points and four assists.

"Tonight we got what we deserved," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We didn't deserve to win that game. ... We were more caught up in ourselves as individuals than the team. That's the bottom line."

Brandon Knight had a career-high 32 points and Greg Monroe added 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who led 96-87 on Calderon's layup with 1:06 to play. The margin was cut to 96-93 when Ariza (team-high 22 points, three assists, three steals) forced him into his second turnover with 12.9 seconds to play.

Ariza converted his free throws after a clear path foul, and the Wizards got possession with a chance to win. But Bradley Beal (16 points, six rebounds) didn't make a clean pass, and Ariza's shot fell short.

"I think we all played bad," Ariza said. "We all didn't do what we needed to do, especially defensively. If we want to win games, we have to bring a better effort."

With four turnovers in the first quarter, Wall's body language turned sour quickly and never recovered.

"I don't know," he said when asked to pinpoint his recent struggles. "You're seeing the same thing I'm seeing, so I can't really call it."

For the second straight game, backup point guard A.J. Price (nine points, eight assists) played just about the same amount as Wall, who tried to jump-start his night with a steal on the first possession of the second half. But it turned into another turnover.

The Pistons used a 21-2 run to lead 82-68 after three quarters. Washington ran off 11 straight to start the fourth quarter but needed Ariza to claw back late.

Trevor Booker replaced Nene (sore right shoulder), making his first start since the opening seven games of the season.

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner