Rasual Butler Helps Wizards Hold Off Pistons


Nov 7, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Washington Wizards forward Rasual Butler (8) with the ball against Toronto Raptors in the second period. Toronto won 103-84. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Rasual Butler was the last player to make the Washington Wizards roster this season. Entering Wednesday night’s home contest against the Detroit Pistons, Butler had only seen the court in three of Washington’s seven games.

But Randy Wittman called Butler’s name early and often on Wednesday and the 12-year veteran swingman answered the call.

Butler played a season-high 27 minutes and scored 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor.

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And instead of playing Garrett Temple heavy down the stretch, Wittman stuck with the hot hand of Butler. Eleven of his 18 points came in the fourth quarter. He also made Washington’s final two points – free throws – that sealed the 107-103 win for the Wizards.

With the win, the Wizards (6-2) are off to their best start in nearly 40 years.

But things weren’t easy for Washington throughout the entirety of the game.

The Wizards had trouble stopping the Pistons’ guards all night. Brandon Jennings dropped a game-high 32 points (16 in the first quarter) and dished out 10 assists. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 20 points.

As a team, Detroit shot 46.9 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from three. The Pistons also held a 13-point lead at one point. But it wasn’t that Washington was playing poor defense. In fact, the Wizards had 10 steals and six blocks. They also forced 11 turnovers. The Pistons came out on fire from the start and made incredibly contested shots. John Wall led the way once again for the Wizards. The Wall-star scored 27 points and recorded 11 assists. He also went to the charity stripe 16 times, missing just three. It was Wall’s fifth double-double of the season in just eight games. Wall was driving early and often and played arguably his most aggressive game of the season. His ability to jump start a fast break was as evident as it’s been all season (see Vine below).

Marcin Gortat had a solid night down low. The Polish center recorded another double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. He also held Andre Drummond to just two points and five rebounds and helped get Drummond in early foul trouble.

Nene played in just 27 minutes and recorded eight points and four rebounds. According to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post, the Brazilian hurt his shoulder during the game.

Paul Pierce turned in another solid night with 13 points and eight rebounds, and the Wizards got another big boost off the bench from Kris Humphries, who scored 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots.

Wednesday night’s game featured a total of 12 lead changes and 12 ties.

Although the Wizards came away with the win and improved to 3-0 at home, they’ll need to find away to disrupt their opponents offensively if they want to reach their desired goal of at least 30 wins at home.

Washington will play its next three games at home, and after hosting Orlando on Saturday, the Wizards will have two tall tasks with the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers coming to town.

If Wittman can get his team to focus more defensively on the wing, the Wizards should be sitting at a good place in the East when Bradley Beal returns to the lineup.