DUANE BURLESON / AP Enlarge
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Allen Iverson crumpled to the floor early last night, but came back strong.
So did the Detroit Pistons.
Iverson left the game briefly after tweaking an ankle but returned to finish with 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting in the Pistons' third straight victory, 88-74 over the Washington Wizards.
Rodney Stuckey added 18 points and matched his career high with 11 assists for Detroit, which went on a 12-3 run midway through the fourth quarter after the Wizards had pulled to 63-62.
The Pistons allowed only three field goals in the final nine minutes.
"I just waited for my opportunity and when it came I just took advantage of it," said Iverson, whose output was his highest since a 30-point night at Sacramento on Nov. 11.
"I was probably in the best groove since I got here."
Detroit hasn't lost since blowing a 17-point lead in a 107-94 loss at Washington on Dec. 9.
They're 10-9 with Iverson on the roster.
Tayshaun Prince added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Richard Hamilton scored 12 points for the Pistons, 6-1 when Stuckey starts at the point.
"You have to pick your poison because usually a team has only one defender on the perimeter," Hamilton said of coach Michael Curry's recent lineup shift.
"Now we have two great scorers on the perimeter."
Detroit closed the first half on an 11-4 run and led 44-34 at intermission, but Washington caught up in the second half.
The Wizards cut it to 63-62 on Antawn Jamison's layup early in the fourth quarter, but the Pistons answered with the decisive run, which included Tayshaun Prince's dunk that finally drew a roar from the hometown fans.
Washington missed six straight field goals and had two turnovers during the run and never could seem to keep track of Iverson, who scored from all over the floor.
He had eight points and a steal in the final nine minutes.
"People have been trying to keep Allen on one side of the floor since he's been in the league," Wizards coach Ed Tapscott said. "Once he gets the ball, he's so explosive and it really becomes difficult."
Washington outrebounded the Pistons 43-41 but watched its hosts record seven steals and score 18 points off its 14 turnovers.
"I thought defensively, all night we were good," Detroit coach Michael Curry said. "It keyed everything."
Mike James, inserted into the starting lineup, scored 16 points to lead the Wizards.
Jamison had 14 points and 11 rebounds despite a sprained thumb suffered early in the game, and Andray Blatche added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Washington, an Eastern Conference-worst 4-19.
"I keep saying I'm grateful this is the Eastern Conference," James said. "You can be 10 games under .500 and still be playing for the eighth (playoff) spot."
Caron Butler, who entered the game averaging a team-best 22.1 points, was 1-for-4 from the floor and ended the game with only five points. He did not speak to reporters.
Detroit's Rasheed Wallace was assessed his ninth technical foul in the third quarter after arguing with official Jim Clark.
Wallace had 12 last season.
Notes: The Pistons claimed a 246th consecutive sellout but several patches of seats were empty throughout the game.42.67112 -83.22054