Maxiell dazzles as Pistons rout WizardsApr 12, 2008 - 4:33 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - Beating the top two teams in the Eastern Conference on consecutive nights was too tall an order for the Washington Wizards.
Jason Maxiell had a career-best 28 points and eight rebounds off the bench as the Detroit Pistons coasted to a 102-74 victory over the Wizards on Friday night.
Washington entered riding a three-game winning streak that included a 109-95 victory over the league-leading Boston Celtics. The loss also kept the Wizards (41-38) two games behind Cleveland (43-36) for fourth place in the East standings.
"We did get some help, but we didn't capitalize on that," Wizards center Brendan Haywood said. "(Saturday) should be like a playoff game for us because, if we lose that one, then we put the cards in the 76ers' hands."
Chauncey Billups scored 13 points and Antonio McDyess added 10 for the Pistons, who had All-Star guard Richard Hamilton back in the lineup after missing nine of the last 10 games with a sore left hip.
Hamilton finished with just nine points on 4-of-13 shooting in 30 minutes. He hit all four of his field goals in the third quarter performance, including a three-point basket that helped Detroit turned a five-point halftime lead into a 26-point edge going into the fourth.
"I wanted to try to get my rhythm but I couldn't make a shot," Hamilton said. "(Assistant) Terry Porter told me to keep passing the ball because they like shots, too. I figured I'd try to get guys open shots. I kept going to the basket, but they were trapping me and that got guys like Theo (Ratliff) and Maxiell open at the basket. "I knew eventually my shot was going to fall and in the third quarter I started to hit, but it still wasn't where I wanted it to be."
Maxiell connected on 9-of-11 shots to help the Pistons capture the season series, 2-1, over the Wizards.
"We did a good job of finding him," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We ran some different sets to get him rolled to the basket. Sometimes we looked to more interior passing tonight. We went to work and didn't settle a lot, and he had a lot to do with that."
"(Maxiell) comes out with energy and throws his big body around," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "He plays basketball the right way. We just didn't have anybody to match him."
It was just Maxiell's first 20-point outburst of the season.
"I'm glad my jump shot is coming back now with the postseason coming up," Maxiell said. "I hope it stays that way."
All-Star Antawn Jamison carried the lead with 15 points and eight rebounds for Washington, which was held to under 20 points in a quarter three times in this one.
"I'm just unhappy about the way we played," Jordan said. "I don't care about the other stuff. I worry about how we play and how we approach the game. We weren't ready to meet up with a physically challenging championship-caliber team. You have to give Detroit credit. They really took it to us."
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