Wizards Alter the Routine, Result

After Slow Start, A Strong Finish : Wizards 107, Pistons 94

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 10, 2008; Page E01

The Wizards were clinging to a four-point lead with just more than two minutes remaining in last night's game against the Detroit Pistons when they came out of a timeout and ran a perfectly executed inbounds play that led to a Darius Songaila layup off of a pass from Juan Dixon.

The play keyed a cathartic 107-94 victory at Verizon Center that snapped a three-game losing streak.

Caron Butler did the heavy lifting with 33 points, but the Wizards (4-15) have lost plenty of games this season when Butler and Antawn Jamison have put up numbers. Last night's victory was a product of a season-high 59 bench points and execution at both ends of the floor.

Songaila's score was the result of some on-the-sideline improvisation between interim coach Ed Tapscott and assistant Wes Unseld Jr.

"That's a play we have in the offense called chin special," Tapscott said. "We called it and I said: 'Wes, are we going to run it out of bounds? And he said we can try because normally it's a half-court set. Wes said we should just run the play right out of bounds and that's exactly what we did. We got the layup on a backdoor cut by Mr. Songaila."

The Pistons (11-9) have lost three straight and dropped to 7-9 since acquiring Allen Iverson from the Denver Nuggets for longtime point guard Chauncey Billups.

Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 29 points.

Butler, who surpassed 30 points for the fourth time this season, received plenty of help as Jamison (10 points, 11 rebounds) posted his 13th double-double and the bench came up huge.

Songaila scored 15 points and played excellent defense on Rasheed Wallace.

Dixon, who went five straight games without any playing time before taking the floor late in Saturday's loss at Chicago, added 16 points and seven assists and finished with an incredible plus/minus rating of plus 33.

Andray Blatche contributed eight points and five rebounds, Nick Young added nine points and Dominic McGuire earned an ovation after scoring six points on 3-of-3 shooting with two rebounds and a block during a key fourth-quarter stretch.

The Wizards were outrebounded 49-24 during a 117- 109 loss at Detroit on Nov. 1 but finished with a 39-34 edge on the boards last night.

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