Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said before Monday’s home game against the Detroit Pistons that the team needed an honest film session to correct a few defensive deficiencies.
It worked as Washington held Detroit to 41 percent shooting from the floor and created 21 turnovers en route to a 115-99 win, snapping a three-game skid.
“I thought we were really playing good defensive basketball [and] getting back in transition,” Brooks said. “Did a lot of the things we worked on through the film session yesterday. We came back in the second half with some good energy.”
Brooks said the team had a meltdown defensively in the last four minutes of the second quarter, when Detroit (3-5) went on a 16-2 run to cut its deficit to 63-61 at halftime.
Washington (2-4) buckled down again after the break, holding the Pistons to just 38 points in the second half and 29 percent from the field in the fourth quarter.
In both Wizards victories in this early season, they held opponents to fewer than 100 points.
Pistons guard Luke Kennard led all scorers with 24 points on 6-for-12 shooting.
Brooks said his team made a concerted effort to contain Pistons center Andre Drummond, who has recorded a double-double in every game this season. He scored 15 points and pulled down 24 rebounds Monday, but shot only 6-for-20 from the floor.
“He’s tough [to] guard,” said Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who led the team with 22 points along with six assists. “He’s physical. He can give you 30-20 every night. We did a really good job on him.”
Beal also made history by jumping to fifth on the Wizards’ all-time scoring list. He needs to score a little over 1,000 points to leapfrog Hall of Famer Wes Unseld and current teammate John Wall for third place.
Six Washington players scored in double figures. The bench, led by second-year forward Troy Brown Jr.’s 14, outscored Detroit’s reserves 53-31.
C.J. Miles, who the Wizards signed this summer, played in his first game of the season Monday after a procedure in July to repair a stress fracture in his left foot, scoring 12 points in 19 minutes of action.
Washington juggled its lineup by starting Isaiah Thomas, who finished with nine points and six assists in 24 minutes. Thomas, 30, who missed Washington’s first two games while recovering from thumb surgery in August, averaged 16 points, seven assists and three rebounds in his first three games this season.
The 5’9″ guard hadn’t started a game since March 2018 while with the Los Angeles Lakers. After two injury-plagued seasons halted his rise to the league’s top tier of guards, Thomas said he is out to reclaim his status and credited his family and friends with keeping him focused.
“It’s been a long road for me these last couple of years,” he said. “Just putting in the work and finally healthy [and] to be able to start says a lot about what I’ve done the last two years. My biggest thing is just taking advantage of the opportunity. I know who I am. I know I am one of the best basketball players in the world.”
Washington faces the Indiana Pacers (3-3) on the road Wednesday before returning home Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-4).