AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — Reggie Jackson really wanted to make a good impression in his Detroit Pistons debut.
As it turned out, he wanted it way too much.
Jackson turned himself into a nervous wreck and missed his first eight shots before recovering in the second half to lead the Pistons to a 106-89 victory over the Washington Wizards.
"I have to thank my coaches and thank my teammates, because I was a mess out there, and they kept believing in me," said Jackson, who finished with 17 points and five assists. "They all talked to me at halftime and told me to relax and keep playing, and I was finally able to do that."
"He got himself really hyped up to be out there," Van Gundy said. "I don't know if anyone noticed, but the first time we took him out of the game, he threw up on the bench.
"Once he got calmed down in the second half, he looked like the player we traded for."
Jackson got a lot of help, as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 26 points and Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe added their usual double-doubles.
"Washington's a really good team, and the only way we are going to win games like that is by getting a good effort from a lot of guys," Van Gundy said. "That's exactly what we got."
The Pistons are 2-0 since Van Gundy traded four players to get Jackson and Tayshaun Prince at the deadline, even though the new roster hasn't even practiced together.
"This group has been fantastic," Van Gundy said. "They were 5-23 at Christmas, and I don't know how many teams would have kept it together at that point. Since then, we keep making changes, and they keep figuring it out, and now we're in the playoff race."
Marcin Gortat had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards. John Wall finished with 10 points and 12 assists, but Washington was outscored 59-37 in the final two quarters.
"We played the last couple of quarters like it was a pickup game," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "It's a snowball effect. It is the little things that add up to big things, and they continue to get bigger and bigger as we speak."
Jackson drew a cheer from the crowd when he hit a pair of free throws late in the first half, then hit a 3-pointer to pull the Pistons to 52-47 at the half.
"Once I got those free throws, I was fine," he said. "I just needed something to go into the basket."
That was closer than they could have expected with Kris Humphries and Gortat combining for 26 first-half points on 13-of-13 shooting.
The Wizards, though, didn't make a 3-pointer in the half while Detroit went 6 of 14. Things changed in the third, with Jackson hitting four shots while Gortat went 2 for 7. One of Gortat's misses came when Drummond cleanly blocked a dunk attempt, bringing the fans to their feet.
Caldwell-Pope kept the crowd enthused, scoring 13 points in the period to give the Pistons a 82-71 lead heading into the fourth. Jodie Meeks started the final period with a 3-pointer to make it a 14-point game, and the Wizards never seriously threatened.
Wizards: While Gortat and Humphries were dominant early, they didn't get much help inside. Washington's starting forwards, Paul Pierce and Nene, combined to go 2 for 13 in the first three quarters. ... Pierce played in the Magic Johnson Roundball Classic high-school game at the Palace 20 years ago.
Pistons: Drummond started the game with a 15-foot jumper — just his fourth career basket from outside 10 feet and first of the season. "That's a new part of my game," he joked, gesturing to the veteran in the adjacent locker. "Joel (Anthony) taught me that shot."
RETURN OF THE PRINCE: Prince said he enjoyed the standing ovation he received from the crowd before the game, even though he is still stunned to find himself back in Detroit. He felt that he had an agreement with Boston to either keep him out or buy him out.
Prince, though, said he has had good conversations with Van Gundy and is ready to embrace his new role.
"I don't want people to just think of me as a mentor, because that usually means you are done as a player, and I'm not," he said. "I can't play 38-40 minutes any more, but I'll go out there for 20 or 25 and do what I do."
Wizards: Host Golden State on Tuesday night.
Pistons: Host Cleveland on Tuesday night.