The Pistons have a few reasons to overlook Washington tonight.

This is the final game before a six-day All-Star Game break, and the Wizards have the NBA's worst road record this season (4-21).

The Pistons can also fall back on the recent memory of back-to-back wins over Washington at the end of December, including a 100-68 win at the Palace on the front end of a home-and-home.

But there are just as many, if not more, reasons why the Pistons can't afford to underestimate a surging Washington team.

The Wizards (15-35) have won four straight games over teams currently in playoff position — the Clippers, Knicks, Nets and Bucks. They've also found a defensive rhythm in recent weeks and haven't allowed 100 points in any of their past nine games.

And the major catalyst for the turnaround, point guard John Wall, could give the Pistons the same problems he's given other teams since his return from a knee injury on Jan. 12. Without Wall, the Wizards started 5-28, but they've gone 10-7 with the 2010 No. 1 overall pick.

"We can't forget he was the former No. 1 pick in the draft," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said Tuesday. "Being injured, sometimes people forget about you a little bit, but he's a top-shelf player."

Wall's proven that since his return. In 28.4 minutes per game, he's averaging 14.6 points, 7.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and is shooting a career-best 43.1 percent from the field.

But Wall's speed is something no team can measure, and some would argue he's the fastest player in the league.

Pistons guard Brandon Knight isn't too worried about keeping up.

"There are a lot of quick point guards in the NBA, so it's another guard that's fast," he said.

The Pistons, Frank said, are trying to speed things up in their offense to maximize the skills of Knight and recently acquired point guard Jose Calderon, but against Wall and rookie shooting guard Brandon Beal, the Wizards should have the speed edge.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130213/SPORTS0102/302130309#ixzz2Kn4LeWUb