AUBURN HILLS, MICH., JULY 20 -- A.J. English seems intent on making good on a promise to become a good player in the NBA.

If that is to happen, he'll have to curb his tendency to pick up fouls and run the play called instead of shooting the ball. The Washington rookie guard dueled rookie Lance Blanks, whom Detroit picked ahead of English in the recent NBA draft, as the Bullets' rookies and free agents lost to the Pistons, 124-115, tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills in a summer league game.

"I felt good out there," English said. "I was trying to take my shots within the offense."

English won the battle, scoring 36 points to go with six assists and four rebounds. Blanks and the Pistons won the war. Blanks had 17 points, six assists and six rebounds.

Washington also was pleased with Pervis Ellison. He had 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

"Pervis at times really got out well on the break," said Bill Blair, who is coaching the team. "He's very, very quick with good hands. He's subtle. He just quietly gets it done."

English scored 16 points in the first half, including a three-pointer, but also drew three fouls. He had four by the 8:12 mark of the third quarter. Before the end of the third he had picked up six. The 6-foot-3 rookie from Virginia Union has had foul problems in both tightly called summer league games. (The Pistons shot 70 free throws; the Bullets went to the line 45 times.)

English was the best offensive player of any of the guards. "I like what he's doing out there," Blair said. "He was 14 of 29, but three or four of those were late shots. As far as the fouls, he's learning. I just like him. I played him at one {point guard} some tonight, he did that well. He took a three {-point shot} early and he stepped back to take a three late without being told. I like that.

"If A.J. is the guy we're going to keep, he's going to have to learn quickly. I don't think the kid's scared. He just plays. I don't think he's afraid to take his shot."

Guard Tony Harris (University of New Orleans) had 17 points and free agent center David Butler (Nevada-Las Vegas, Coolidge High School) scored 13.

Washington led, 94-91, in the fourth quarter when Detroit went on a 11-0 run to take control at 102-94. Chris Harris and Anthony Cook each had 20 points for Detroit, which plays Indiana Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Washington plays Milwaukee Saturday at 5 p.m.

In the first game, Michael Williams missed two free throws and a jump shot in the last 3.5 seconds as the Milwaukee rookies and free agents beat Indiana, 113-112.