NBA Basketball: Washington at Detroit – Detroit Favored
Webber looks to build off his best game so far with Detroit when the Pistons host the Washington Wizards with first place in the Eastern Conference at stake.
Webber signed with the Pistons (24-16) on Jan. 16 after the Philadelphia 76ers bought out the final 1 1/2 years of his contract. His 19 points in Wednesday’s 103-92 win over the Charlotte Bobcats were his most in four games with his new team.
"This is definitely the level that I want to be on," said Webber, who grew up in Detroit and played college ball at Michigan. "With this team, each night, somebody is going to have their number called. I feel we have a great team. I think we have the best starters, and this is definitely where I want to be."
Webber averaged 11.0 points – more than 16 fewer than his career best with Sacramento in 2000-01 – in 18 games with the Sixers.
He went 7-for-9 from the floor Wednesday, though, and grabbed six rebounds as the Pistons improved to 3-0 with him in the starting lineup.
"I know 80 percent of the plays," Webber said. "Sometimes I forget the name with the play because it’s different, but I don’t think there’s not much more to catch up on. I feel a lot more comfortable out there."
Richard Hamilton had 22 points, and Rasheed Wallace scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for Detroit, which won its third straight game. The Pistons are in first place in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of the Wizards and a full game in front of Cleveland – the second-place club in the Central Division.
"We’re coming closer," said Wallace, a teammate of Webber’s in 1995-96 with the Washington Bullets. "When (Webber) gets to know the plays, we’ll be all right.
"I’m comfortable playing with him, because he knows defense. That’s a plus. Playing with him when I was in (Washington), I didn’t forget his tendencies."
Coach Flip Saunders said Wednesday’s effort reminded him of last season’s team, which reached the conference finals before falling to Miami.
"We executed," Saunders told the Pistons’ official Web site. "We played like we did a lot of times last year in the fourth quarter. We decided who we wanted to get the ball to, where the mismatch was."
The Pistons have won both meetings against Washington this season after going 0-3 versus the Wizards in last season’s series.
Washington (24-17) lost 127-105 to Phoenix on Tuesday, ending a four-game winning streak. Gilbert Arenas, who ranks second in the league with 29.7 points per game, had 31 to lead the Wizards in the loss.
Reigning Eastern Conference player of the week Caron Butler added 24 points, while Antonio Daniels had a season-best 20.
"It lets you know we’ve still got a long way to go before we can truly become contenders," forward Antawn Jamison said. "We definitely knew that, but it’s a disgrace to come in and play like this on our home floor."
By: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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