Stuckey, Villanueva help Pistons top Wizards 98-94Dec 7, 2009 - 3:03 AM AUBURN HILLS, Mich.(AP) -- The Detroit Pistons have been forced into several strange lineup combinations due to a rash of injuries this season.
One of their oddest-looking lineups helped them to a victory over Washington on Sunday.
With Richard Hamilton sidelined since the first week of the season because of an ankle injury, Ben Gordon slowed by his own ankle problem, and Rodney Stuckey in foul trouble, the Pistons went with 6-foot-11 rookie Austin Daye at shooting guard in the second half.
The move worked. Daye hit all five of his attempts from the floor and finished with 11 points to help the Pistons old off a rally for a 98-94 win over the Wizards.
"We knew Ben didn't have anything for us tonight - I give him a lot of credit for trying - but it was in our best interest to give Austin an opportunity and he really came through," said Pistons coach John Kuester. "He made some big plays when we were struggling to score."
Gordon came in when Stuckey picked up his fourth foul, but was obviously limited by the sprained ankle.
"It's part of the game, and it is something I'm going to have to deal with," Gordon said. "We've got a day off tomorrow, and that will help a lot."
Gordon was quite impressed with Daye's performance at guard.
"He pretty much came in and changed the complexion of the game," Gordon said. "We needed something, so it was great for a young guy to come in and make that kind of contribution."
Daye helped the Pistons' reserves outscore the starters 54-44, with help from Charlie Villanueva (18 points) and Will Bynum (16).
"We had a lot of energy from the guys coming off the bench - Kwame Brown gave us 13 good minutes, plus we get the instant offense from Charlie and Will," Kuester said. "This team is definitely learning how to grind out games. Our next step is to take that effort onto the road."
Stuckey had 25 points for Detroit, which led by as many as 12 in the first half before Washington pulled to 52-49 on Earl Boykins' leaning jumper at the halftime buzzer.
Caron Butler had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Boykins scored 18 for the Wizards, who lost in coach Flip Saunders' first game at the Palace since being fired by Detroit after the 2007-08 season.
"The only guy that seems to be saving us right now is Earl," Saunders said. "He's keeping us in games. He doesn't really want to be that guy, but when the other guys don't have it, he steps up."
Gilbert Arenas scored just eight points in 32 minutes. He missed six of his nine shots, including all four 3-point attempts.
"The building was cold tonight and I just didn't get into a rhythm," said Arenas. "I never really got into the flow of the game, and I didn't want to force anything because I wasn't into it."
The Wizards pulled even several times in the third quarter, but Daye had seven points in the period as the Pistons took a 71-69 lead into the fourth.
Another Daye basket made it 77-69 with eight minutes left, and after Boykins hit a 3-pointer, Villanueva answered with a 4-point play to give Detroit a nine-point lead.
The Wizards got as close as one, but Detroit hit enough shots to hang on.
"There's just a lack of aggression out there," Saunders said. "It's a matter of playing basketball and reading things. We held them to a low field goal percentage, but turnovers killed us."
NOTES: Boykins, who played at nearby Eastern Michigan, has had his two highest scoring games of the season against the Pistons - 20 and 18 points. ... Jason Maxiell was the only active Piston who played in multiple seasons for Saunders in Detroit. Ben Wallace played in the first of his three years and Stuckey played in the last.
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
WASHINGTON 19 30 20 25 94
DETROIT 24 28 19 26 97 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: WAS - CARON BUTLER 20, EARL BOYKINS 18, ANTAWN
DET - RODNEY STUCKEY 24, CHARLIE VILLANUEVA
18, WILL BYNUM 16
Dec 6 8:41 PM
DETROIT 71 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 6 7:59 PM
HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
WASHINGTON 19 30 49
DETROIT 24 28 52 HALFTIME
HIGH SCORERS AT HALFTIME
WAS - EARL BOYKINS 10, RANDY FOYE 9,
ANTAWN JAMISON 9
DET - RODNEY STUCKEY 18, CHARLIE VILLANUEVA
10, THREE PLAYERS WITH 5
Dec 6 7:15 PM
DETROIT 24 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 6 6:40 PM
- Point man: Irving shines in Cavs' demolition of Raptors May 18
- Wizards All-Star guard John Wall undergoes knee surgery May 5
- No longer rebuilding, Pistons hope to improve in offseason Apr 28
- Emerging trend: Coaches given president's title in NBA Apr 27
- New coach Brooks: Focus is on Wizards players, not Durant Apr 27
- Owners of Pistons, Cavs trying to bring MLS to Detroit Apr 26
- Washington announces Scott Brooks as Wizards next head coach Apr 26
- Raptors' Dwane Casey wins PBWA's Rudy Tomjanovich Award Apr 25
- NBA: No foul on Jackson's shot to end Cavs' win over Pistons Apr 25
- No heartbreak: Cavs' sweep saves Bieber concert in Cleveland Apr 25
- Young Pistons have plenty of potential after playoff berth Apr 25
- Cavs head into second round looking sharp and healthy Apr 25