| The Detroit News
All the rehearsals are over. It’s time to start making final preparations for the regular season.
The Pistons finished the preseason with a nice comeback, erasing a double-digit lead in the second half but falling short in a 99-96 loss to the Washington Wizards on Saturday night at Capital One Arena.
The Pistons (2-2) showed improvement in each preseason outing but had a shaky end to Saturday’s game — though the comeback from a 16-point deficit was something they could be optimistic about — and will get ready for Wednesday’s regular-season opener on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jerami Grant had 14 points and nine rebounds, Derrick Rose 14 points and five assists and Josh Jackson added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Pistons.
Thomas Bryant had 22 points and six rebounds, Bradley Beal 15 points and five assists and Russell Westbrook eight points and seven rebounds in his preseason debut for the Wizards (1-2).
Unlike Thursday’s game, the Pistons got off to a slower start and the Wizards were solid and playing with pace and causing turnovers, as they took a 31-27 lead after the first quarter.
The Wizards extended the lead to 16 late in the second quarter, but the Pistons finished with a 7-3 run, including back-to-back baskets by Delon Wright (nine points and four rebounds) and Grant and a 3-pointer by Wayne Ellington with 21.2 seconds left for a 63-49 lead at halftime.
Jackson rallied late in the third quarter with a 3-pointer and floater on back-to-back possessions and Jahlil Okafor (eight points and four rebounds) hit a turnaround in the lane to trim the lead to 83-76 entering the fourth quarter.
Okafor hit consecutive baskets early in the fourth and Jackson added a 3-pointer to pull within one before Robin Lopez (13 points) ended the run. The Pistons tied it at 89 after a jumper from Rose and a breakaway dunk by Svi Mykhailiuk (11 points).
The Wizards looked to put the game away with back-to-back 3-pointers by Jerome Robinson and Troy Brown (nine points) and a free throw by Robinson for a 96-89 lead with 4:39 remaining.
The Pistons got within 98-96 after two of four free throws from Grant, but Cassius Winston (Michigan State) split a pair of free throws and the Pistons couldn’t score on the final possession.