In what will be the final NBA game at the Palace, the Washington Wizards closed out the era with a 105-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.
The Pistons leave the Palace after nearly three decades to move into Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit next season.
On the last night, champions from all three NBA title teams the arena produced were on hand to say good-bye to an old friend.
And it looked like the Wizards would easily dispatch the Pistons when they ran to a 15-point lead in the first half.
But the Pistons (37-44) fought back to tie the game at 81 with 8:33 remaining on a Tobias Harris three-pointer. The deficit was still only one point with 1:24 remaining after a Reggie Bullock three-pointer made the score 98-97.
But Markieff Morris scored on turnaround jumper and Bradley Beal’s dunk and free throw gave the Wizards a 103-97 lead and turned out the lights for good.
Harris led the Pistons with 22 points and Ish Smith added 16 points and nine assists. The loss snaps a two-game winning streak.
Beal scored 33 points for the Wizards (49-32). Morris added 20.
Beal looked primed for the playoffs at the beginning. He got started with dunks on consecutive possessions to give the Wizards a 20-17 lead at the 4:23 mark of the first quarter.
He then got loose for two triples – the last giving the Wizards a 30-19 lead at the 1:49 mark.
He concluded the 15-point quarter with a layup with 25.6 seconds left, as the Wizards took a 34-21 lead into the second quarter.
Beal only had one bucket in the second quarter, but it was a killer.
Kentanvious Caldwell-Pope was all over Beal when he nailed a corner triple with 2.8 seconds left in the first half as the shot clock expired.
The Wizards took a 55-42 lead into halftime.
Marcus Morris got loose for eight points in the third quarter, as the Pistons cut the deficit to six at 79-73 going into the fourth quarter.
Detroit Free Press