AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Scoring has been a problem for the Washington Bullets all season, and their failure to put the ball in the basket did them in again last night.
The Bullets shot 42 percent from the field and 60 percent from the foul line in their fourth straight defeat. The Detroit Pistons held on down the stretch for a 100-93 victory at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
"We're having a very difficult time scoring," said Bullets coach Wes Unseld.
The Bullets converted eight offensive rebounds into 16 points, but Unseld said that wasn't good enough.
"We had 28 offensive rebounds," he said. "But it didn't do us a whole lot of good. We missed free throws. That was the ball game."
The Pistons, who have won only 12 games this season, broke a 78-78 tie when Sean Elliott hit a pair of free throws and rookie guard Lindsey Hunter made a three-point field goal to give Detroit a five-point lead. The Bullets closed the gap to two points but never got the lead.
Don MacLean, playing for the first time after missing seven gameswith a hip pointer, missed five foul shots. Tom Gugliotta missed three crucial foul shots down the stretch.
"We were rusty," said MacLean. "We had three days off. Who knows? There is no excuse. We were just off our game. We couldn't find the hole."
MacLean scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half. He also had 11 rebounds, as the Bullets held a 54-35 edge on the boards. Michael Adams led the Bullets with 21 points but had only four assists. Gugliotta added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bullets had a lot of trouble with veteran guard Joe Dumars, who led Detroit with 25 points, including a clutch three-pointer down the stretch. Dumars spent much of the evening posting up the smaller Bullets guards.
"It's something that worked a couple of times when we played them last time," said Dumars. "You stash those things away in your memory for the next game."
Neither team could find the range in the first half, which ended in a 40-40 tie. But the Pistons shot 62.5 percent in the second half to secure their second win in three games.
"We were all off tonight," said Gugliotta. "Our goal is to try and out-rebound the other team every night. We were trying to be aggressive and go to the hole hard because they really don't have any shot blockers. We got the foul shots. We just didn't capitalize."
The Bullets' Kenny Walker suffered a fractured right cheekbone late in the first half when he collided with Dumars, who was driving to the basket.
"I heard it right away," said Dumars. "I felt terrible. I was driving to the basket, and we banged right into each other. I wanted to tell him I was sorry, but they got him out of there right away."