First NBA battle of Rochesterians in almost 60 years set for January

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Thomas Bryant of the Wizards and Isaiah Stewart of the Pistons are set to face-off on January 15, 2021.

Isaiah Stewart of the Detroit Pistons and Thomas Bryant of the Washington Wizards will make history in January when the two face-off against each other. (File Photos/Getty Images)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — When the Washington Wizards and the Detroit Pistons tip-off on January 15, 2021, it will be Rochester history nearly 60 years in the making.

That’s when Rochesterians Thomas Bryant and Isaiah Stewart will likely face-off for the first time in their NBA careers.

Stewart was drafted 16th overall on behalf of the Pistons, making him the highest-ever draft pick out of Rochester. Bryant is about to embark on his fourth NBA season, after averaging a career-high 13.2 points per game last year with the Wizards.

The first half of the NBA schedule was released on Friday. The second half of the schedule, released at a later date, will reveal two more Wizards vs. Pistons matchups.

The last time two Rochesterians played in the same game was March 13, 1963. In that game, Al Butler of the New York Knicks battled against Walter Dukes of the Detroit Pistons. Dukes’ Pistons won the game 112-89. Dukes had 7 points while Butler had 12.

Rochester history could have been made earlier this century when John Wallace and Art Long were both in the NBA. Wallace played for the Phoenix Suns and Long played for the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2001-02 season. Those teams met four times that year, but both Wallace and Long never played in the same game. Long suited-up in three of those matchups, while Wallace played in the other.

The Pistons and Wizards will also play against each other in the preseason twice later this month. The Wizards will host the Pistons on Thursday, December 17th and Saturday, December 19th.

Fellow Rochesterian Anthony Lamb could also play in those matchups. Lamb signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Pistons as an undrafted free agent. He is on the Pistons’ training camp roster.

Rochester native Quinton Rose signed with the Sacramento Kings as an undrafted free agent, too. The first half of the schedule does not feature any Kings’ games against the Pistons or Wizards.

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