It was a happy homecoming for Richard Hamilton, left, who scored 22 points in his return to the MCI Center.
Hamilton scored 22 points, and the Pistons turned up the defense
in the second half to beat the Wizards 87-82 Thursday night.
Hamilton starred in Washington for two years before being sent
to Detroit in the trade that brought Jerry Stackhouse to the
Wizards. In his first game back, Hamilton scored 20 points in the
first three quarters, then made two free throws with 2:10 left to
cap a 12-2 spurt that put the Pistons up 81-73.
''This feels crazy being in this locker room. I've never even
been in here before,'' Hamilton said of the visiting team's
quarters at MCI Center. ''Coming down here was definitely hard, but
I always said it would be great for the fans. They showed me love
at the beginning of the game, and I just wanted to go out and put
on a show.''
Detroit rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit, holding
the Wizards to just 33 points over the final 24 minutes.
''We got stagnant. When we don't move the ball, we stand,''
Washington coach Doug Collins said. ''When we do that, we can't
win. I must have said it 30 times in the second half: Please move
The Wizards finished with as many assists as turnovers: 12.
''We went dead in the water, and when our team does that, I
can't get them back,'' Collins said.
Washington closed to 84-82 on two free throws by Michael Jordan
with 25.3 seconds left, but Chauncey Billups made a foul shot for
the Pistons and Jordan turned over the ball on the Wizards' next
Jon Barry then made two free throws to seal the victory.
Stackhouse led the Wizards with 24 points and Jordan added 17,
but he missed 10 of his 17 shots and had four turnovers -- three in
the fourth quarter.
When you look at the stats and look
at how the game was played, we outplayed them
in every area but turnovers, and I'm the biggest
culprit. I had four turnovers, which is totally
uncharacteristic of me. It's one of those games
where you just want to hide your head under a
— Washington's Michael Jordan
''When you look at the stats and look at how the game was
played, we outplayed them in every area but turnovers, and I'm the
biggest culprit,'' Jordan said. ''I had four turnovers, which is
totally uncharacteristic of me. It's one of those games where you
just want to hide your head under a pillow.''
Detroit trailed 67-64 with 9:11 remaining before Corliss
Williamson scored on a follow and Chucky Atkins hit a 3-pointer.
That gave the Pistons their first lead since early in the second
A baseline jumper by Jordan put Washington back in front, but
Clifford Robinson started the pivotal 12-2 run with a 15-footer,
and Ben Wallace followed with two foul shots to give Detroit the
lead for good.
''I thought our defense was solid the whole second half,''
Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said.
Robinson finished with 16 points. Wallace had 13 rebounds and 11
After building a 49-41 halftime lead, the Wizards made only two
baskets in the opening eight minutes of the third quarter.
Washington scored only 14 points in the period (compared to 10 for
Hamilton), but still led 63-61 entering the fourth quarter.
That looked good for the Wizards, who came in 11-1 when leading
after three quarters -- including 8-0 at home.
This time, however, the lead didn't stand up.
''I can't really call it revenge,'' Hamilton said. ''I just say
we're one-up on them.''
Wizards rookie forward Jared Jeffries will miss the remainder of
the season with a torn ligament in his right knee. He was averaging
four points and 15 minutes. ... Wallace has led the Pistons in
rebounding 28 times in 28 games. ... Detroit improved to 2-6 when
trailing at halftime on the road. ... Washington's Larry Hughes had
a season-high 12 rebounds.