Pistons 96, Wizards 95
Brandon Knight returned from a right knee injury to score a career-high 32 points, Greg Monroe added 26 points and 11 rebounds on the court where he played college home games for Georgetown, Jose Calderon finished with 18 assists, and Detroit escaped with a victory over host Washington.
The Pistons have won six games in a row over the Wizards, and 14 of their past 16 meetings. And Wednesday’s result represented a reversal of fortunes for both clubs: Detroit had lost three straight games; Washington had won three straight.
But the Wizards were without starting center Nene (sore right shoulder) and got a poor game from point guard John Wall, who had more turnovers (seven) than points (six) or assists (four). It’s the third time in the five games since the All-Star break that the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft had at least a half-dozen turnovers.
Trevor Ariza led the Wizards with 22 points, and his 3 with 34.1 seconds left got Washington within 96-93.
On Detroit’s next possession, Ariza stole the ball and started heading the other way when he was fouled by Will Bynum. It was ruled a “clear path” foul, giving Washington two foul shots and the ball. Ariza went 2-for-2 at the line, making it 96-95 — and giving the Wizards a chance to win after trailing by as many as 16.
After some sloppy ball handling, the Wizards wound up getting a last-second heave from the corner by Ariza. It was an air ball.
Knight missed those previous three Detroit losses, and was considered a game-time decision Wednesday. He was terrific, making 11-of-18 field-goal attempts, including 5-of-6 on 3-point tries.
With Calderon orchestrating things, the Pistons opened the game by collecting assists on each of their first 16 field goals — the team’s highest such total in at least a decade, according to STATS LLC.
By the end of the first quarter, Calderon already was up to eight assists — one more than the Wizards’ entire roster — and Detroit led 28-24.
Kings 125, Magic 101
John Salmons had 21 points to lead six players in double figures and hot-shooting Sacramento cruised to a victory over host Orlando.
The Kings were coming off a double-overtime loss to Miami on Tuesday, but showed few signs of a hangover, knocking down 10 3-pointers. Reserve Marcus Thornton added 20 points.
The win ends a six-game losing streak and snaps a string of nine consecutive road losses. It also marks the Kings’ first season sweep of the Magic in nine years.
Tobias Harris led the Magic with 23 points, followed by Arron Afflalo with 15.
Orlando has lost 29 of its last 33 games and hasn’t won back-to-back games since mid-December. The Magic resume their three-game home stand Friday against Houston.
The Kings led by as many as 33 in the second half and didn’t let up until late as their field-goal percentage hovered near 60 percent. They also took care of the ball, committing no turnovers in the third quarter.
Orlando was a step behind throughout with 18 turnovers that led to 20 Sacramento points.
The Kings started a little sluggish before ending the first quarter on a 29-9 run to take a 14-point lead into the second. The momentum carried over as Sacramento’s lead rose as high as 25 and was a comfortable 67-44 at halftime.
Sacramento had five players in double figures by the break and hit shots from everywhere, shooting 62 percent in the half (28-for-45). The Magic came in at just 35 percent (15-of-42).
Thunder 119, Hornets 74
Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant recorded his third career triple-double and Oklahoma City finished a perfect three-game homestand by routing the short-handed New Orleans Hornets.
Durant had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as Oklahoma City finished a dominant four-game sweep of the season series against New Orleans, which was without starters Anthony Davis (shoulder) and Eric Gordon (knee). The Thunder led by at least 29 in three of the four meetings this season,
With the Thunder firmly in control, Durant made a clear bid for the triple-double. He got the assist on five straight Thunder baskets in the third quarter, grinning widely at the bench after his ninth assist. He and the rest of the starters exited soon after.
Ryan Anderson started in place of Davis and led New Orleans with 14 points.