AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Chauncey Billups can get some rest again.
"Obviously, this won't be the last time we lose two in a row, but it seemed more like five or six because we weren't playing the way we are supposed to play," Billups said. "I couldn't even sleep, because I was so mad about the way we were playing."
Last year, with Ben Wallace, the Pistons started 35-5 and went to the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth year in a row. This season, with Wallace in Chicago, they lost five of their first eight games.
The Wizards became the latest team to go small against the Pistons, but Detroit was able to counter it with the length of Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince. They combined for 40 points, 17 rebounds and six assists.
"It's like I'm coaching in the CBA again, where no one has a guy over 6-8," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "To counter teams going small against us, we have to be able to counter it by pounding it inside. Tonight, Sheed made some shots, and so did Tayshaun, and when Washington dropped down on them, they found the guys they needed to find."
Wizards star Gilbert Arenas knew that Wallace would be a problem when his team went with a small lineup.
"Coach said we weren't rebounding, so we might as well go small, but when you do that, Rasheed's the tallest guy on the court," he said. "It got us back in the game, and we hung in there for a minute, but they just hit shots and blew the game open."
Arenas only scored 20 points after early foul trouble. He has been held under 30 points in each of the Wizards' last four games, one more than his longest streak of last season.
"It is frustrating that every time you bump somebody, it's an offensive foul," he said. "I know I'm not that strong. When did flopping become part of basketball? I'm getting called for everything."
Caron Butler led Washington with 24 points, but couldn't prevent the Wizards' third straight loss.
"They know how to win -- they've won championships and they've got a lot of veteran leadership, so they weren't going to keep digging themselves a hole," he said. "We've got veteran leadership, too, and we've got to do the same thing."
Washington led 46-43 at the half, holding Detroit to 37.5 percent shooting, but the Pistons came to life in the third.
The Pistons started the period with a 13-2 run, including eight points from Hamilton, to take a 56-48 edge. They continued to pull away throughout the quarter, helped by Prince's 3-pointer and eight Wizards turnovers.
They led 74-61 at the start of the fourth, but the Wizards rallied behind eight points from Arenas to pull within 81-79 with 6:38 to play.
Lindsey Hunter and Wallace answered with jumpers and the Pistons pulled away down the stretch.
"Lindsey was the player of the game for sure," Prince said. "We had energy tonight, and he gave us a lot of it on both ends of the floor. He was huge."