Somehow, the injury report keeps getting longer for the Detroit Pistons.
Hours before Tuesday’s road game against the Washington Wizards, Isaiah Livers (right hip soreness) became their eighth player listed as “OUT.” Cory Joseph nearly became the ninth, as his status was questionable with a non-COVID illness.
With the Pistons down nearly half of their roster, Joseph decided to give it a go. He did his part, scoring nine of his 12 points in the third quarter to help Detroit cut a 22-point deficit to nine. But it wasn’t enough against a mostly-healthy Wizards team led by former All-Stars Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis.
The Wizards, who were without Flint native Kyle Kuzma (knee soreness), defeated the Pistons, 117-97, at Capital One Arena. Beal (36 points, 13-for-15 overall shooting, eight assists) and Porzingis (18 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four blocks, three steals) had big nights to put the Pistons away early.
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With his roster severely depleted, Dwane Casey inserted R.J. Hampton into the starting lineup a day after he was forced to give 10-day forward Eugene Omoruyi a starting nod. James Wiseman, Killian Hayes and Rodney McGruder rounded out the first five, and the bench consisted of only Jalen Duren, Cory Joseph and two-way players Buddy Boeheim and Jared Rhoden.
Hayes led Detroit with 20 point, seven assists and five turnovers. McGruder added 16 points, and James Wiseman (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Joseph (12 points, 5 assists) also reached double-figures.
Cade Cunningham (left tibia stress fracture), Jaden Ivey (health and safety protocols), Marvin Bagley III (right ankle soreness), Bojan Bogdanovic (left achilles tendinopathy), Alec Burks (left foot soreness), Hamidou Diallo (right ankle sprain) and Isaiah Stewart (left shoulder impingement) all missed the game.
A layup from Wizards rookie guard Johnny Davis gave the Wizards 38-26 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the opening period. Detroit shot 9-for-27 in the first quarter and briefly only had seven players available, as Omoruyi injured his right ankle midway through the first quarter before returning in the second. Duren also missed all but two minutes and 39 seconds of the first half due to picking up three fouls in the first quarter, leaving Wiseman as the only healthy big for long stretches.
Detroit threatened two separate comebacks. Cory Joseph hit two 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the second quarter to help the Pistons reduce an 18-point first quarter deficit to nine, but Deni Avdija jumpstarted an 11-2 Wizards run with a layup, 3-pointer and assist to Beal on a cutting layup.
A 14-0 run enabled the Pistons to cut a 25-point gap to 11 in the fourth quarter, with Boeheim, McGruder and Rhoden knocking down 3-pointers. But Beal checked in with 8:15 remaining and scored 11 points down the stretch to close out the win for Washington. He completed a 3-point play after checking in to end Detroit’s run, and then capped his night with a pair of 3-pointers to extend Washington’s lead to 23 with 3:42 remaining.
Omoruyi hurts ankle, returns
A bad night for Detroit appeared to get worse in the first quarter, when Omoruyi had to exit the game after rolling his left ankle on Porzingis’ foot. He writhed in pain while laying on the ground and holding his ankle, and the Pistons eventually called a timeout to get him off of the floor. He was able to walk off under his own power, and received treatment on the sideline.
He checked back in with 2:33 to play, and scored a bucket 29 seconds later by maneuvering past Porzingis for a layup. Omoruyi finished with eight points (4-for-12 shooting) four rebounds and a steal in 20 minutes. He was inefficient on a night the Pistons needed everyone to do too much, but he still made his now-expected impact plays.
Prior to hurting his ankle, Omoruyi drove and found McGruder open for a layup with a bounce pass. He also showed off his strength and footwork by finishing a layup through Beal and Porzingis in the third quarter.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons hobble out of Washington with 117-97 loss to Wizards