(Preview from The Sports Network)
Rookie John Wall may now be the centerpiece of the Washington Wizards but Gilbert Arenas is proving he still has something left in the tank.
Arenas and the Wizards will shoot for their third win in four contests and their first road triumph of the season on Sunday in Auburn Hills against the Detroit Pistons.
Washington won for the second time in three games without Wall on Friday when Arenas poured in 24 points and the short-handed Wizards held on for an 89-86 win over Memphis in the nations's capital.
Kirk Hinrich added 22 points and six assists for Washington, which bounced back from a 31-point loss at Boston Wednesday. Wall (sprained left foot) and forward Yi Jianlian (bruised right knee) were both sidelined for a third straight game. JaVale McGee tallied 10 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and a trio of blocks in the win.
"Tonight it seemed like we were having trouble finding our rhythm, all night," Hinrich said. "Offensively, it just wasn't coming naturally like sometimes it does. So, just trying to change up the game, muck up the game and tough it out. That's what we were able to do."
Both Wall, who is averaging 18.1 points, 9.8 assists and an NBA-best 3.3 steals, and Yi remain doubtful for tonight's contest although Washington coach Flip Saunders did say Wall may give it a go.
The Pistons, meanwhile, lost their second straight game on Wednesday to the two-time defending NBA champion LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant scored 33 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out four assists in that one to power the Lakers to a 103-90 victory at The Palace.
Rodney Stuckey scored 18, and Tayshaun Prince supplied 13 points and six rebounds in defeat for the Pistons, who have dropped three out of five overall and are off to their worst start since 2000-01.
"I really thought the game started off with them coming down in transition and making shot after shot," Detroit head coach John Kuester said. "We came back and got it within three during the second quarter but we didn't come out with the level of focus that we have to have against a great team. They are a great team."
The Pistons, who haven't started a season 4-9 since 1992-93, have won five straight over Washington in Auburn Hills and six consecutive overall in the series.