The Other Side: Detroit Pistons
The Washington Wizards aren't the only struggling team to welcome back a former all-star guard on Saturday. The Detroit Pistons, who have plummeted from fifth to eighth in the Eastern Conference in the past few months, are expected to have former Wizard Richard Hamilton back on the floor after missing the past six games with a groin injury. Hamilton's return couldn't come sooner for the Pistons, who lost five games without Hamilton and six of seven overall -- including terrible home losses to New York and Memphis.
The Pistons (34-37) arrive in Washington coming off a 92-77 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in which the Lakers went on a 20-0 third quarter run to take control of a close game. The Pistons may also get back Rasheed Wallace, who hasn't played since March 9 because of a calf injury. The Pistons are 2-1 against the Wizards this season, winning the last meeting, 88-74, on Dec. 17.
Here's what else you should know about the Pistons as they prepare to play the Wizards tonight at Verizon Center:
1. Allen Iverson Might Return Soon
It was merely a coincidence Pistons Coach Michael Curry decided to move Allen Iverson to the bench at the same time Iverson suffered severe back troubles and had to get treatment at Georgetown University. Right? Iverson hasn't played since Feb. 25 and has complained of pain and numbness in his lower back and legs. Given Iverson's reputation for playing through broken bones and other injuries, TNT analyst Reggie Miller isn't buying it. The Iverson trade has backfired, but the Pistons have learned a valuable lesson. Booth Newspapers' A. Sherrod Blakely recently said that Will Bynum has been a better fit for the Pistons. Will Bynum?
Iverson practiced for the first time in a month on Friday, signaling his possible return next week. He needs to play again so that this isn't the lasting image of his Pistons tenure:
2. Few Things Have Gone Right in 2009 For the Pistons
This calendar year has been a difficult one for the Pistons and their fans. They were 19-11 after beating New Jersey on New Years Eve, but they have since gone 15-26 and dropped to eighth in the Eastern Conference. Their string of consecutive sellouts ended at 259 games on Feb. 4. And, earlier this month, longtime Pistons owner and recent Hall of Fame inductee William Davidson died at age 86. Davidson bought the Pistons in 1974 and won three NBA championships. After being unable to purchase the Detroit Red Wings, he bought the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1999. The Pistons and Lightning won NHL and NBA titles eight days apart in 2004. Davidson was defined by more than his success.
3. Kwame Brown Is Back In D.C.
Kwame Brown is averaging just 3.7 points and 4.4 rebounds, and his former Coach Phil Jackson offered a very pointed analysis recently. But he has been getting more minutes with Rasheed Wallace shelved. In his past five games, Brown is averaging 7.8 points and 8.4 rebounds, scoring a season-high 14 in a win against the Clippers. He also had a season-high, 13 rebounds against Memphis on March 15. Brown is surprised that the Pistons have struggled this season.
By Michael Lee |
March 28, 2009; 3:30 PM ET
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