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Detroit at Washington

Pistons clamp down in final minutes to stop host Wizards

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Gilbert Arenas briefly hauled the Hibachi out of storage, then opened up about his inconsistency this season.

Perhaps it was because of the sting of his Washington Wizards' sixth consecutive loss, a 106-103 setback against the Ben Gordon-led Detroit Pistons on Saturday night.

Perhaps it was because Arenas shot 0 for 6 in the first quarter. Or because he didn't make a fourth-quarter field goal until 1.9 seconds were left, too late to make a difference.

Whatever the motivation, Arenas talked at length in the locker room about thinking instead of reacting; worrying how many assists he collects so he can be seen as a top point guard; figuring out how to involve talented teammates in new coach Flip Saunders' offense; having more fun on the court now that he's healthy.

"There's always a half or a quarter where I don't shoot or I don't score. Before, in [former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan's] system, he needed me to score 30. In this system, I don't have to," Arenas said. "Me sitting, not shooting for a whole quarter, doesn't really bother [me], because we have other players that's scoring. But then when I try to get in a rhythm, I just don't have that feel, so I have to try to find a way to keep myself in the game the whole time."

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While Arenas was quiet in the fourth quarter Saturday, Gordon took over, scoring eight of Detroit's final 10 points to finish with 29. Charlie Villanueva added 25 points for Detroit, which held Washington to one field goal over the final 5 minutes.

Reserve guard Will Bynum contributed 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Pistons, who have won three in a row.

Arenas set up a basket by Earl Boykins that put Washington ahead 95-89 with 5:04 to play -- but the Wizards wouldn't register another field goal until the closing seconds.

"The thing I like about this team is, we keep chipping away," Gordon said. "We don't hang our heads. We don't make excuses. We play hard, and that got us back in the game."

The Pistons trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, but with Arenas going silent for stretches, they came back.

"We're not known for our defense, but Ben [Wallace] and I have been playing terrific defense," Villanueva said. "We can score, but it's the other end that's going to put us in a good situation."

Before three operations in 1½ years on his left knee, Arenas used to be the guy who would take over games late in quarters, and he showed some flashes Saturday: He sank a 3-pointer from about 30 feet right at the end of the first half, hopping in place as the ball cut through the net. And when he made back-to-back 3s at another point, he waved his palms in front of him, the old Hibachi signal that he was hot.

"Mike Miller told me to bring it back," said Arenas, who ended up with 19 points and 10 assists. "Everyone wants the fun guy back."

But Arenas also was deferential at times to the 5-foot-5 Boykins, who signed with Washington on Wednesday, went through two days of practice and scored 20 points in his first NBA game since April 2008.

Arenas' first shot attempt of the fourth quarter was a 19-foot jumper that he missed with 2:05 left in the game and the score 96-all. Gordon banked in a 9-footer to put Detroit ahead, and then Boykins -- not Arenas -- missed jumpers on each of Washington's next two possessions.

Arenas said teammate DeShawn Stevenson "got mad at me today, because in the fourth quarter I only took three shots. He said, 'Before, this wouldn't have happened. You would have taken over the fourth quarter, even if you had to take every shot.'"

But Arenas said he doesn't "want to take away from the team."

It's part of a general feeling-out process he and his teammates and Saunders are going through right now. Things aren't easy at 2-7.

"I find myself doing more thinking than I am just reacting, off my instincts," Arenas said. "Players in this league, they react. I was a reactor. Now I find myself being a thinker."

Notes

  • Saunders said Wizards captain Antawn Jamison will play for the first time this season Wednesday against visiting Cleveland.
  • Miller scored 20 points after missing the three previous games with a shoulder injury.
  • F Tayshaun Prince (back injury) did not travel with the Pistons.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Ben Gordon scores a game-high 29 points as the Pistons win their third in a row. (Getty Images)
Ben Gordon scores a game-high 29 points as the Pistons win their third in a row. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Detroit (5-4) «27282328106
Washington (2-7) 18293323103
DET:B. Gordon 29 Pts
DET:R. Stuckey 9 Reb
DET:W. Bynum 6 Ast
WAS:E. Boykins 20 Pts
WAS:A. Blatche 11 Reb
WAS:G. Arenas 10 Ast
Players of the Game
WashingtonDetroit

M. Miller

W. Bynum
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
20332086

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Detroit
R. Stuckey, SG455-137-894117
B. Gordon, SG4210-214-521329
C. Villanueva, PF3910-211-171625
B. Wallace, C312-21-37415
J. Jerebko, SF201-20-03142
W. Bynum, PG326-138-986320
J. Maxiell, PF142-41-24025
K. Brown, C91-31-43013
A. Daye, SF50-00-01000
D. Summers, SF40-20-00020
C. Atkins, PGDid Not Play
T. Prince, SFDid Not Play
R. Hamilton, SGDid Not Play
C. Wilcox, PFDid Not Play
Totals 37-8123-32441723106
 45.7%71.9% 
Washington
G. Arenas, PG407-181-2610219
C. Butler, SF396-144-493516
B. Haywood, C383-85-790411
M. Miller, SF347-112-233520
A. Blatche, SF315-133-3113213
E. Boykins, PG317-125-513120
F. Oberto, C130-02-24132
D. Stevenson, SG111-20-00222
J. McGee, C30-10-00030
M. James, PGDid Not Play
R. Foye, PGDid Not Play
D. McGuire, PFDid Not Play
N. Young, SGDid Not Play
J. Crittenton, PGDid Not Play
A. Jamison, PFDid Not Play
Totals 36-7922-25432527103
 45.6%88.0% 
Other Games
NO 98 Final
Atl 121
Bos 104 Final
Ind 113
Port 80 Final
Char 74
Utah 103 Final
Cle 107
NJ 80 Final
Miami 81
Phi 88 Final
Chi 94
Min 87 Final
Mem 97
GS 125 Final
Mil 129
OKC 101 Final
SA 98