McGee, Wall help Wizards rout Pistons 98-77
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) JaVale McGee had a few fans in the stands to cheer his big game for the Washington Wizards.
The center, who was born in nearby Flint and started his high school career at Detroit Country Day, had 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Wizards to an easy 98-72 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
"JaVale was the MVP of this game," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "He had eight dunks, and he had a huge defensive impact on the game in the paint. He might have only gotten two, but he's the best shotblocker in the game, and you always know he's there. He changes a lot of shots."
McGee's presence was a big reason why the Pistons hit just 42 percent of their shots in the paint and saw their four-game winning streak snapped.
"At the start of the game, we talked about this turning out to be an energy game, and that whoever won that, was going to have a chance to win," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "We ended up doing that."
John Wall was another reason it was such a runaway for the Wizards. He had 15 assists - and then gave his jersey to a girl sitting next to the visitor's tunnel. She had been wearing a Brandon Knight Pistons jersey - Wall's successor as Kentucky's point guard - but she was quick to replace it with the one Wall gave her.
McGee and Wall weren't the only problems for Detroit, though. The Pistons made only 19 percent of their shots outside the paint, including 1 of 11 on 3-pointers.
"One guy didn't make us miss all of those shots," Ben Gordon said. "We just didn't have any energy tonight. We had that during the last four games, but it was gone tonight."
The Wizards took control with a 22-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters.
The game was tied at 45 at the half, and the Wizards took a 62-61 lead late in the third quarter on Wall's first points of the game. Two straight turnovers by Detroit let Washington quickly build the lead to five, and it was 74-63 by quarter's end.
"That was big," Young said. "We never folded, and that's something we can learn from. John kept us going, pushing the ball and we got aggressive and won the game."
Things got so bad for Detroit during Washington's run that Knight's mask came loose, and he ended up tossing it to a fan. An arena employee retrieved the mask at the end of the quarter.
Knight left the mask off, but it didn't help, as the Wizards scored the first seven points of the fourth to move the margin to 18.
Washington led by as much as 27 in garbage time.
Notes: Ben Wallace played in his 1,054th career game, tying Avery Johnson's record for career games by an undrafted player since the NBA/ABA merger. ... Monroe, who is averaging a double-double, didn't get his first rebound until the final minute of the first half. ... Washington's Rashard Lewis (knee) returned after missing three games, but didn't play until the second half. He passed 15,000 career points with a free throw midway through the fourth quarter. "I'm definitely excited - there can't be too many people on that list," he said. "Sam Cassell just told me that I passed him up, so that's most definitely an honor."
Updated February 12, 2012