Scott Brooks‘ wish after Christmas is to see his team improve dramatically in road games.
The disappointing Washington Wizards only won four of 19 road games before the holiday. They’ll try to change those fortunes when they play at Detroit on Wednesday.
Washington has lost its last six away games, including a 105-89 defeat at Indiana on Sunday. The Wizards trailed by 20 points after three quarters.
“What concerns me the most is our inconsistency on the road,” Brooks said. “We haven’t played well on the road and we have to get better on the road. We haven’t made enough good plays for each other on the road like we do at home. We have to figure out how to play better on the road as a group.”
The Wizards committed 22 turnovers on Sunday, leading to 25 Indiana points. They were a little leg weary after a 149-146 triple-overtime victory over Phoenix the previous night.
“We have to take better care of the basketball,” Brooks said. “We had 22 turnovers. That’s basically almost one quarter of offense.”
The Wizards (13-21) are 1-3 since the acquisition of forward Trevor Ariza from Phoenix. He’s averaging 13.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his second stint with the organization. He also played for Washington from 2012-14.
The Pistons (15-16) haven’t won wherever they’ve been most of the month. They have dropped nine of their last 11 games. Their 98-95 home loss to Atlanta on Sunday moved them below the .500 mark for just the second time this season.
Detroit trailed by double digits much of the way against the 9-23 Hawks before staging a belated fourth-quarter rally.
“We were just bad through three quarters and put ourselves in a hole and then didn’t get it done at the end,” power forward Blake Griffin said.
Griffin missed two free throws that would have given the Pistons the lead with 23 seconds left.
“We brought [the intensity] in the fourth quarter but the game is not won in one quarter,” Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said. “If you let a team hang around and hang around, you put yourself in a tough position where every play, every shot, every free throw is important and it shouldn’t come to that.”
Slow starts have been a big part of the Pistons’ slump. They were down by seven to the Hawks after the first quarter.
Oklahoma City led by nine after the first quarter when the slide began. Milwaukee led by the same margin after the opening quarter during their next game.
They trailed New Orleans by eight, Philadelphia by nine, Charlotte by 12 and the Hornets again by four after the first 12 minutes.
“We can point to shooting percentages, we can point to whatever we want to point to, if we don’t bring that [focused] approach to start the game, we’re not serious about making the playoffs,” said Casey, who gave his team two days off to refocus after the loss.
This is the first of three games between the Eastern Conference teams this season. Washington won three of four against Detroit last season.