Gafford’s putback gives Wizards 119-117 win over Pistons
DETROIT (AP) — Daniel Gafford converted a putback of Bradley Beal’s airball at the buzzer, and the Washington Wizards handed the Detroit Pistons their ninth straight loss, 119-117 on Tuesday night.
With the score tied, Beal drove to the baseline and shot a fadeaway floater over James Wiseman that was too strong and missed everything. Gafford grabbed the weak-side rebound and banked in the game-winner.
“Brad went at exactly the right time — if he missed, we’d get a chance at an offensive rebound, but there wouldn’t be time for the Pistons to get anything,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “(Gafford) did a great job getting behind the defense to get the rebound. Maybe we got a little lucky, but we made a play.”
Beal finished with 32 points and Kristaps Porzingis scored 24 before fouling out in the final minute. Washington (32-34) ended a two-game skid and is 10th in the Eastern Conference, in position for the final spot in the play-in tournament.
Jaden Ivey had 26 points and 12 assists for the NBA-worst Pistons. Wiseman added 21 points but lost track of Gafford on the final play while defending Beal.
“I feel like part of that was my fault,” said Wiseman, who only had one rebound in the final 12 minutes. “I shouldn’t have ever committed to (the block attempt). I didn’t even know he was there.”
Ivey was the only active Pistons player who played in the team’s season-opening win over the Orlando Magic. The other nine have either been traded or are injured.
“Everyone looks at the last play, but there were a lot of plays before that,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “I applaud those guys for fighting that hard against a team trying to make the playoffs. A lot of them weren’t here two weeks ago, and they are still figuring out how to play together.”
Washington scored 14 points in the first 3:06 of the fourth quarter — giving them 50 in the second half — to take a 103-95 lead, but Ivey’s 3-pointer put Detroit up 110-109 with 3:18 left.
Ivey drew Porzingis’ sixth foul with 50.7 seconds to play, then hit both free throws to give Detroit a 117-115 lead, but Beal tied it with a layup.
Isaiah Livers turned the ball over with 23 seconds left, setting up the winning play.
The Pistons shot 54.8% in the first half, with Wiseman going 6 of 6, to take a 58-53 lead.
Washington hit 12 of its first 17 second-half shots, including four 3-pointers, to move ahead 83-76.
The Wizards scored 36 points in the third quarter, including 10 by Beal, but R.J. Hampton’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer pulled Detroit within 89-88.
Wizards: Have won seven straight against Detroit and have won eight of the last nine season series. ... Kyle Kuzma scored 23 points and Corey Kispert had 16, making 4 of 5 3-point attempts.
Pistons: Haven’t won a game in regulation since beating the Charlotte Hornets 118-112 on Feb. 3.
IVEY ALMOST PULLS IT OUT
Ivey scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, forcing the Wizards into a defensive change.
“I think our zone was our most effective defense because we had a really difficult time keeping Ivey out of the paint,” Unseld said. “When we went to the zone, we were at least able to slow him down.”
Wizards: Host Atlanta on Wednesday and again on Friday.
Pistons: Host Charlotte on Thursday.
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