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Washington Wizards beat Detroit Pistons, 118-104

Kyle Kuzma scored 30 points and Jordan Poole added 17 as the Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 118-104 on Saturday.

Kuzma, who grew up in Flint, Michigan, about an hour north of Detroit, has averaged 23.6 points at Little Caesars Arena.

"I just want to play well in front of my mom," he said. "I always have a lot of fans here, so I get juiced to play here."

The win was the first for interim coach Brian Keefe and came less than two weeks after Detroit won 129-117 in Washington. The Wizards had lost six straight, starting with the Pistons game.

"This is obviously very cool, and the best part is the way we played defense," Keefe said. "Two days ago, we talked about having to become a better defensive team, and we did a good job today. There's a long way to go, but these are the habits we have to build."

Daniel Gafford added 15 points and 13 rebounds for Washington, which had six players in double figures.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 30 points and Cade Cunningham added 20 points and 12 assists in his return from a knee injury. Jalen Duren finished with 10 points and 18 rebounds.

"We lacked poise and execution," Pistons coach Monty Williams said. "There were times where we were down two or three points and it felt like 20. We weren't doing the things we should have done."

The Wizards led 102-98 with 5:20 left, but Poole made it a seven-point game with a 3-pointer. Detroit came up empty on its next two possessions, and Kuzma dunked to make it 107-98 with four minutes left.

Bogdanovic's three-point play got Detroit within six, but Kuzma made a 3-pointer for a 111-101 lead with 2:42 to go.

"They had 16 offensive rebounds after we killed them on the boards last time," Cunningham said. "In transition, we gave up too many layups and a part of that is live-ball turnovers. I had too many turnovers, and it is hard to come back from that."

The Wizards had five offensive rebounds in the fourth and held Detroit to 28.6% shooting, including 0-8 from behind the arc.

"We owed these guys from last time — that wasn't a game that was up to our standards," Kuzma said. "This is our new standard, the way we communicated on defense and how hard we worked."

Detroit led 63-61 at the half, thanks to Cunningham's buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Neither team could get enough stops to take over in the third quarter.

Washington led 87-85 heading into the fourth, and the Wizards expanded it to 97-91. The margin was 99-96 when Washington brought their starters back in with 7:06 to play.

Detroit's reserves scored 23 points and shot 28.7%.

"Our second unit came in and we couldn't run an offense," Williams said.

The game started at noon so Little Caesars Arena could be converted for an evening game between the Detroit Red Wings and Vegas Golden Knights.


Wizards: At the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

Pistons: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon in a game moved up to finish before the Lions play the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.

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