Holiday edition of MarTELL it like it is
The Wizards (13-14) not only have a chance to get the upper hand in the series with an Eastern Conference foe they are competing with for a playoff spot, but could go into 2014 with a .500 record. The Pistons (14-18) have lost four of their last five games.
TV: CSN, Wizards Central at 7 p.m. ET Monday; Tip-off at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., 7:30. Radio: WFED-AM 1500.
Last game: Wizards (13-14) won 106-82 at Verizon Center on Saturday, out-rebounding one of the NBA's elite teams in the paint 46-38 for their biggest margin of victory.
Season series: 1-1.
Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Trevor Booker, C Marcin Gortat. Pistons –- PG Brandon Jennings, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Josh Smith, PF Greg Monroe, C Andre Drummond.
Entry passes: 1). The guard play for Detroit was terrible. Including the backups, they shot 9-for-32. 2). Coming off a bruised left knee, Beal only played 20 minutes and Nene 19. Both are on minute restrictions and should be fresher than usual. 3). Gortat, who had failed to score in the first half of a loss at Minnesota, was involved early in the offense and had his best overall game in a while with 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting and seven rebounds in just 27 minutes. 4). Even though the Wizards had 17 turnovers, most of those came after the game was no longer competitive and reserves played. 5). The Pistons still had 16 offensive rebounds which led to 21 second-chance points, which is too much to allow.
X-factors: Backup C Kevin Seraphin (right knee) said he isn't sure if he'll be able to play. He hasn't practiced in more than a week. ... Jan Vesely has to do better than fouling out in eight minutes. Without a healthy Seraphin, his big body is needed against this frontline. ... Smith was benched the entire second half Saturday, the second time he has been benched this season.
He said it: "Our transition defense has been bad. Our interior defense has been bad. When you have a team that is shooting well from three and getting inside the paint, a lot of things are going to give and we need to recover." -- Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks
Around the bend: The Wizards will return to D.C. immediately after the game, likely shoot around Tuesday at Verizon Center and play their first game of 2014 on Wednesday vs. the Dallas Mavericks (CSN, 6).