Rose, Pistons eye third straight road win vs. Wizards

Derrick Rose‘s addition to the Detroit Pistons‘ starting lineup has led to improved starts as well as better finishes.

The Pistons will try to complete a sweep of a three-game road trip when they play a Monday matinee against the Washington Wizards.

Coach Dwane Casey had been reluctant to insert Rose into the lineup for fear of overusing the veteran point guard. He also didn’t want the team’s bench production to nosedive.

Instead, the team’s offense has flowed despite the lengthy absences of starters Blake Griffin and Luke Kennard.

The Pistons shot 60.3 percent from the field in a 116-103 upset at Boston, then connected at a 59.3 percent clip in a 136-103 romp in Atlanta on Saturday.

Rose has been the catalyst, shooting 76.7 percent from the field. He had 27 points and nine assists in 26 minutes against the Hawks.

«Derrick Rose is an All-Star,» Casey said. «He is getting to where he wants to go with the ball, and he is picking double teams apart. Guys are being more comfortable now playing against blitzes and traps, and he is playing like an All-Star. … I’m going to tell everybody, he should be an All-Star, he is an All-Star.»

Rose is clearly the Pistons’ Most Valuable Player this season. He’s averaging 23.0 points and 6.1 assists this month and the offense revolves around his ability to drive to the basket for layups and kickouts.

Rose’s minutes have risen from an average of 22.9 in November to 25.2 in December to 30.1 in January. He’s showing no signs of wear and tear.

«I think they were just being cautious with me early on in the season,» he said. «I feel like they were being cautious. I keep showing them; I’m coming in doing what I’m supposed to do, taking care of my body. I’ve been prepping for this all summer, so it’s finally just coming full circle.»

The Wizards, who hold a 2-1 lead in the season series, will look to snap a three-game losing streak.

They were thumped 140-111 at Toronto on Friday. The Wizards had trouble hanging onto the ball, as they committed 26 turnovers.

«We started the game off with turnovers and a lot of them were uncharacteristic ones, but some of them were because they are a good defensive team,» coach Scott Brooks said. «They’re an experienced team, they are long, they are tough and they were clicking. We played a championship team (Friday) that was clicking on all cylinders and when that happens everything seems to fall.»

The Wizards’ star, Bradley Beal, was held to 14 points in 23 minutes. Beal has averaged 20.6 points, 6.6 points below his season average, in three games since returning from a right leg injury.

«We’ve just got to get better at getting open and making ourselves available and just making a simple pass,» Beal said. «We’ve got to be better at both ends of the floor. We’ve got to be better as a team, better as a unit, starting with myself.»

Beal averaged 28.5 points and 8.0 assists in the two Wizards victories over Detroit but was held to 15 points in a 132-102 Pistons triumph on Dec. 26.

–Field Level Media