AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — The Washington Wizards had some ugly lines in the box score Saturday night.
Marcin Gortat was a minus-22 in 26 minutes, and Bradley Beal and John Wall were both minus-20 in a little more playing time. Kris Humphries played 17 scoreless minutes.
Those numbers would normally reflect a lopsided loss, but the Wizards put them up in a 97-95 victory over the Pistons. Washington's reserves outscored Detroit 51-15, helping them put up big runs in both halves.
"I thought our bench saved the day twice," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "In an 82-game season, that's what it takes. Our bench won't always play like that, and the starters will save the day, but tonight, it was the bench."
Detroit's reserves shot 6 of 20, missing all five 3-point attempts and had three turnovers against three assists. They didn't register a blocked shot or a steal.
Because of that, Stan Van Gundy was forced to play all five starters at least 32 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris all played 37 minutes.
"We can't play the starters that many minutes — in fact we need to get their minutes down — but we didn't have an option tonight," he said. "Look at the plus/minus numbers, and they dominated the game, but our bench didn't do anything."
After all that, the Wizards still almost gave away the game. They had the ball and a two-point lead with 9.2 seconds left, but Otto Porter was called for a five-second violation on the inbound attempt.
That gave Detroit a last chance, but Reggie Jackson got trapped on an isolation, and Morris missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"We broke the play," said a frustrated Van Gundy. "We didn't have the patience to find the final option, and we ended up with just a random shot. I know our starters were tired, but they have to run the play."
Wittman, though, said the Wizards had the advantage of knowing what to expect.
"We knew they were going to run a high pick-and-roll, because they ran it 48 times today," he said. "We didn't want Jackson getting any comfort level, so we jumped him as soon as he came off, and ended up giving them a contested 3-pointer."
Nene had 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting and was a plus-24 off the bench, while fellow reserve Ramon Sessions had 14 points and nine assists. Porter scored 17 points.
Jackson led the Pistons with 20 points and nine assists, while Morris had 18 points and nine rebounds. Drummond failed to get a double-double for the first time this season, finishing with eight points and 13 rebounds. He also didn't get an offensive rebound in 37 minutes.
"We were ready for him," Gortat said. "We all focused on him every time, and we went at him offensively to make him tired. I think the way I play, running the floor and moving a lot, just wore him out."
The Pistons jumped out to a 12-4 lead, but quickly ran into a familiar problem. Playing their second game in two nights against a rested opponent, Detroit's bench quickly lost the momentum built by the starters.
Detroit's reserves were outscored 22-5 in the first half, letting Washington had built a 14-point lead.
With the starters back on the floor, the Pistons made it 52-all at the half, and led 69-58 midway through the third quarter. Once again, though, the lead was short lived, as Washington held a 75-73 edge at quarter's end.
Wizards: Beal returned to the lineup after missing three games with a shoulder injury. .... Garrett Temple averaged 14 points in his two games starting in place of Beal, including 18 in Wednesday's rout of Milwaukee. ... It was only the second time Humphries went scoreless in 15-plus minutes since 2012.
Pistons: Drummond, the league leader in offensive rebounds, had never played more than 25 minutes without getting one. . Drummond got loud "MVP! MVP!" chants while hitting two free throws midway through the fourth —the first time he has received those in his career. ... Detroit's next game is Monday in Milwaukee, its first matchup with former Pistons forward Greg Monroe.
Wizards: Host Indiana on Tuesday.
Pistons: Visits Milwaukee on Monday.