Greg Monroe hop-stepped to the basket, eyes set on adding to his 18 points and buoying his Detroit Pistons over the Washington Wizards as the final minute ticked off at Verizon Center on Wednesday night. But as the former Georgetown star bounced off the hardwood, an arm appeared. It belonged to Rasual Butler, and the Wizards reserve was precise, cleanly swiping the basketball off Monroe’s right knee and out of bounds.
The referees reviewed the sequence and upheld the ruling to Monroe’s frustration. With 57.9 seconds remaining, Washington capitalized at the other end with a dazzling display of ball movement — from point guard John Wall to Nene to front-court partner Marcin Gortat along the baseline. Gortat finished with a two-handed dunk to give the Wizards a three-point lead they would not relinquish in a 107-103 victory.
The win, which came despite some poor free throw shooting down the stretch, opened a four-game homestand and gave the Wizards their first 6-2 start since the 1975-76 season.