WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards have plenty of work remaining before their record reaches .500, let alone look like a team capable of a playoff run. Then again, if this recent run of strong performances turns into a lengthy trend, perceptions could change quickly.
Otto Porter scored 15 points for the Wizards (11-14), who outscored the Pistons 68-50 during the second and third quarters for a 95-77 lead.
The combination of shooting 57.9 percent from the field, sinking 12 of 25 3-pointers and committing only six turnovers rocked Detroit. The focus on defense fueled a turnaround with four wins in five games, including two straight.
"It's been good," Beal said. "We just figured it out. To me, it's been on the defensive end. Guarding guys, pressuring guys when we need to, getting stops. It's just making it easier for our offense."
Few teams find easy offense against the Pistons (14-14). Detroit entered Friday second in the NBA in scoring defense (95.7 points per game) and had a seven-game streak of holding opponents below 100 points.
That version of the Pistons didn't show for the first of three meetings with the Wizards. Washington scored a season-high 65 first-half points. Wall and Beal combined for 35 points in the first half as the Wizards entered the locker room leading 65-54.
The backcourt tandem had 15 assists with one turnover and finished 18 of 30 from the field. Wall made all four of his 3-point attempts.
"We couldn't handle their guards at all," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I mean, just John Wall was great; (Bradley) Beal was great. We couldn't handle them at all. They were getting wherever they wanted on the floor and then making plays. The other guys shot the ball well, too, but those two guys just destroyed us."
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 24 points and Jon Leuer had 17 for Detroit.
"Trading baskets. We couldn't get stops, man," Caldwell-Pope said. "Just giving them everything they wanted."
The Pistons, who shot 48.2 percent from the field, never pulled closer than 16 points in the fourth quarter against the clearly improved Wizards.
"I think we're getting into a nice little rhythm that we're understanding what we want to do as a basketball team on both ends," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "We're still not where we need to be, but I see some progress, I see some belief in each other and that's what it's about."
Coming off a win Wednesday over the Dallas Mavericks, the Pistons haven't won consecutive games since Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
Marcin Gortat had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Wizards. Markieff Morris (foot) scored 11 points in his return after sitting out Wednesday's win over the Charlotte Hornets. He also blocked a shot of his twin brother, Marcus, who had only two points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field for Detroit.
"He just basically tried to say I'm your brother, let me have it," said Markieff Morris, acquired by Washington at last season's NBA trading deadline. "I would have let him have it, but he put (the ball) right in my face. I can't just not block the shot."
Washington center Jason Smith left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return.
NOTES: Players from both teams and Wizards coach Scott Brooks wore shirts pregame honoring longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager, who passed away Thursday after a long bout with leukemia. "Craig taught us all a lot of lessons, even before he got sick," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Just in the way he approached everything and had fun and understood what it was all about, this whole experience of living and even more so when he got sick. ... You have to be impressed with the way he lived his life and hopefully you learn something from it." ...Wizards G Bradley Beal's first 3-pointer doubled as the 500th of his career. He joined Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison as the only players in franchise history to reach that mark. ... The Pistons head back to Detroit for Saturday's matchup with the Indiana Pacers. ... Washington hosts the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon.