It had all the makings of an exciting match-up between two bombastic NBA teams coming off of a six-game winning streak: The venue was ideal with a sold out Dallas Mavericks crowd, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith lurked about courtside without scaring small children with his opinion, the Dallas Mavericks honored the late Stuart Scott with a moment of silence, Dirk Nowitzki just reached number seven on the NBA’s All-Time Scoring list, and the Detroit Pistons were fresh from “forming a f**king wall”. So when nothing short of a sloppy game was performed on the Mavericks’ end of the court, disappointment was shared all around.
You know, except if you played for the Pistons or something.
The Pistons, who had been on a 6-0 run since breaking up with Josh Smith via a note during study hall, were looking to dominate early and snap any sleepy dreams that the Mavs had of going on a 7-0 winning streak themselves. It proved somewhat damp when Detroit made eight fast break points to start out (the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Brooklyn Nets, the Mavs’ last two opponents, combined for a total of four when playing Dallas on the road), and nailed down the first quarter with a 31-26 lead.
The Mavs’ bench, mainly Richard Jefferson, attempted to give Dallas the life they needed in the second as Rajon Rondo tied up the game at 31-31 minutes in. Momentum was stolen away by a trey from Anthony Tolliver with 7:39 remaining in the half as Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle desperately called a timeout in order for his men to gather their heads.
“We made a few runs, but we never really got enough traction,” Carlisle said to the press following the frustrating game. “We got beat in every single quarter and were able to tie one quarter. Really, essentially, it was a wipeout.”
Despite outshooting the Pistons during the first half, Detroit outrebounded the Mavericks. It was Devin Harris and Chandler Parsons who attempted to keep Dallas in the game, but they couldn’t seem to recover from the 10 first-half turnovers and headed into the locker room trailing 54-49 at the break.
“Start to finish, they just outplayed us. It’s no accident that they’re on a seven-game winning streak and they’re beating some good teams. They’re playing at a high level, and tonight, they were just better,” Carlisle shrugged.
The next two quarters where exhaustingly closed out by D.J. Augustin, who scored 17 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter while the Mavericks got little to no traction enough to get a good run going in the final ticks, and ended up falling to Detroit 108-95.
“I thought in the first half, quite honestly, I thought we got lucky,” Pistons’ head coach Stan Van Gundy said of his team never trailing during a winning streak. “I thought our defense in the second half was much better. They (Dallas) are very difficult to stop and they still had some shots they could have made but I thought our defense was a lot better.”
The Mavericks head to Los Angeles in order to face the LA Clippers on Saturday night.