DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons are enjoying one of their best stretches of the season, and the reason why is no surprise.
Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond are rolling.
Drummond had 32 points and 17 rebounds, and Griffin had 31 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to lift the Pistons to a 121-112 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night. Detroit has won four in a row, one shy of its longest winning streak of the season.
“It’s incredible. They’re playing the way we obviously need them to play,” said Luke Kennard, who added 15 points for the Pistons. “Obviously, Dre in the last couple games has been unbelievable. Reggie (Jackson) the past couple weeks has been great for us. Obviously, Blake all year has been really, really consistent.”
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Griffin scored 20 points in the first half for the Pistons, who haven’t lost since blowing a 25-point lead in a home defeat against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 2. Detroit began Monday tied with Miami for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Wizards, who are without injured John Wall and Dwight Howard, traded Otto Porter Jr. away last week. Nevertheless, they came into the game on a two-game winning streak before falling short against Detroit.
Griffin and Drummond have averaged 26 points apiece during Detroit’s streak.
“We knew their power at the 4 and the 5 — they are as strong as anyone in the league at those two spots,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “When Blake puts his head down, it is almost impossible to stop him from getting to the basket, but now he can step back and hit 3-pointers.”
The Pistons led by 10 in the first quarter. They were up 61-59 at halftime before pushing the lead back into double digits in the third. Detroit went on a 13-2 run and took an 81-71 advantage on a 3-pointer by recently acquired center Thon Maker.
Bradley Beal had 32 points and 10 assists for the Wizards.
“We gave them way too many points in the paint, especially early on, so we were always trying to fight back into the game,” Beal said. “This was an important night for us to take care of business, and we didn’t get it done.”
Wizards: Bobby Portis had 24 points and Trevor Ariza scored 23. … Jeff Green, who has been dealing with left hip tightness, played 28:04 and scored four points.
Pistons: Jackson had 16 points, six assists and seven turnovers. He went 4 of 4 from 3-point range. … Detroit was 15 of 36 from beyond the arc. … Kennard went 4 of 6 from 3. … The Pistons won their first four games of the season, and they had a five-game winning streak from Nov. 23-Dec. 1.
Wayne Ellington played for the first time since signing with Detroit . He missed his first six shots from the field — all from 3-point range — and finished with two points.
Maker met Portis at the rim and blocked his dunk attempt in the final seconds of the first quarter. Then he left the game to receive stitches to his upper lip.
“What a hustler that young man is,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “I love the way he competes. His spirit is in the right place. He’s about winning. He’s not about himself. He’s a good addition to our program, as far as what we’re trying to build, with character. Basketball IQ is very, very important.”
Wizards: At Toronto on Wednesday night.
Pistons: At Boston on Wednesday night.
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