Detroit — A couple Pistons used Thursday’s second half of a back-to-back for a bounceback.
After combining to go scoreless in 44 minutes on Wednesday, Josh Jackson and Saddiq Bey combined for 42 points in a 120-91 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Jackson had a season-high 31 points on 13 of 21 shooting, knocking down four 3-pointers on seven attempts.
The Detroiter rediscovered some of the scoring touch he enjoyed in the first half of the season, shaking off some recent struggles.
Getting his second straight start after 33 appearances off the bench, Jackson made five of his first six shots and never cooled down.
“I just saw a couple open shots, shots that I’ve worked on before and have made before,” Jackson said. “I just took them tonight. They were falling, I took them without thinking.
“And my teammates saw that I hit a few shots in a row, and typically when guys see that, they try to go them and get them open. It made it really easy for me.”
In addition to not scoring last game, Jackson did not play the previous game before that.
“He’s a pro,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “He stays ready. That’s going to be our rotation. There’s going to be some guys who get minutes one night. And then other guys might not get as many minutes.
“He responded in the right way.”
Jackson was hot headed to the All-Star break, scoring double-digits in 14 of 15 games before the pause. Since the break, he did that just four times in his first 10 games.
After struggling off the court early in his career, Jackson has been a success story for the Pistons (14-34) in his Michigan homecoming this year. He’s been a positive embodiment of the team’s new era, which has not resulted in wins but is drawing excitement nonetheless.
“All we ask as an organization is that when guys put their boots on, their work hat on, they come out ready to play,” Casey said. “Tonight Josh did his job.”
Bey recovered from Wednesday’s scoreless 25-minute effort to score 11 points, all in the first half.
Seven Pistons scored in double figures, including Mason Plumlee, who had 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Frank Jackson also added 13 points, Jerami Grant 12, Wayne Ellington 11, and Cory Joseph 10.
Jackson and Bey combined for 30 points in the first half as the Pistons opened a 63-44 halftime lead.
The lead never dipped below 15 points in the second half for the Pistons, whose win total is third from the bottom in the NBA.
Washington missed its first seven free throws of the game and did not make one until 3:31 remained in the third quarter. Washington was 6-19 (31.6%) from the line and 5-19 (26.3%) on 3-pointers.
Casey was pleased with his team’s defense not fouling early on.
“One thing we talked about in our film session (Thursday) is ‘Hands back,’” he said. “We had too many cheap fouls (Wednesday against Portland) where we had no chance of getting the ball. That’s a bad recipe against a great offensive team.
“I thought tonight we were more disciplined.”
Russell Westbrook missed his first five free throws, but finished with a triple-double. He also had nine turnovers to go with his 16 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for the Wizards (17-30.
Former Michigan State All-American Cassius Winston got some run late, his 12th career appearance. Winston scored five points, the second-best output of his rookie season.
The Pistons are 3-7 on the second half of back-to-back sets this season.
Washington was without Bradley Beal for the third straight game. The All-Star and NBA’s leading scorer has a hip contusion.
The Pistons play host to Derrick Rose and New York on Saturday before going west for a five-game road trip next week.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.