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Jan 14, 2024 5:17 pm

Pistons, Wizards meet day after reported 4-player swap

The Washington Wizards host the Detroit Pistons on Monday for a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup in Washington, D.C., just one day after the two organizations reportedly agreed to a trade.

ESPN reported on Sunday that Washington is sending Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala to Detroit in exchange for former No. 2 overall draft pick Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Livers and second-round draft picks in 2025 and 2026.

The veteran Gallinari, who has been in the league since 2008, is averaging seven points per game in his first season with the Wizards but has not played since Dec. 27 due to back spasms. Muscala is averaging four points per game.

Bagley, drafted second in the 2018 draft by Sacramento, is averaging 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 26 games and 10 starts for Detroit this season. Livers is averaging five points in 23 games and six starts.

Amid the roster changes, Washington comes into Monday’s contest seeking its first winning streak of the season. The Wizards snapped a six-game skid with a 127-99 road rout of Atlanta on Saturday behind Deni Avdija’s near triple-double.

Avdija finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Patrick Baldwin Jr. played a season-high 18:11 minutes off the bench and scored eight points with a career-high nine rebounds.

Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said after the game that Baldwin’s increased playing time might reflect Washington’s rotations for the coming months.

“It’s an opportunity to try some different things and different lineups, stretch some boundaries a little bit (for) certain guys and see what they have,” Unseld said.

Kyle Kuzma led Washington with 29 points. Kuzma powered the Wizards with 32 points and 12 rebounds in its previous meeting with Detroit, a 126-107 Washington road win on Nov. 27.

That result was part of a Pistons losing streak that extended for another month and set an NBA record at 28 games. Detroit carries a seven-game skid into Washington this time, winless since the beginning of 2024.

The Pistons closed 2023 with a 129-127 defeat of visiting Toronto on Dec. 30. Their current skid continued on Friday in a 112-110 loss to Houston.

The Rockets outscored Detroit 12-5 in the final 4:15, including eight straight from Fred VanVleet. Pistons coach Monty Williams said in his postgame news conference the team has not lacked optimism even during historic struggles.

“The way they continue to show up every shootaround, every time we get together, amped up to win a game, then to lose like that, it’s just cruel,” Williams said. “Basketball, the NBA in particular, can be that way.”

Kevin Knox II scored 19 points and Alec Burks added another 19 coming off the bench to lead Detroit, which was without its two leading scorers, Cade Cunningham and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic, who averages 19.8 points, is day-to-day with a calf injury. Cunningham, averaging 22.8 points and 7.3 assists, sustained a knee injury last week that the team announced on Tuesday would be re-evaluated in 7-to-10 days.

–Field Level Media

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