Rapid Reaction: Mavs 100, Pistons 86
January, 10, 2012
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks did exactly what they had to and put the struggling, injury-riddled Detroit Pistons out of their misery early.
The Mavs made their first eight shots, jumped out to a 23-9 lead and shot 63 percent in the first half to lead, 52-38, a margin that could have been larger. They would take care of that in the third quarter. Detroit, playing without Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva and now losers of five straight after playing in its fourth game in five nights, closed to within 52-40 to start the third quarter.
That’s as close as the Pistons would get. Dallas rolled to a 16-0 run for a 68-40 lead, its largest margin, on a Dirk Nowitzki fadeaway with 5:57 to go in the quarter.
Speaking of Nowitzki, he whisked away his 5-of-22 shooting slump in the previous two games by hitting his first seven shots. He finished with a team-high 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting. Shawn Marion had 14, Vince Carter, starting for a second consecutive game, had 11 points. Ian Mahinmi had another nice offensive night with 10 points. Lamar Odom again didn't have much offensive success, going 0-of-3 from the field, but he did come off the bench to tie for the team lead in rebounds with seven.
All-in-all, a Mavs team without its floor general, Jason Kidd, for a second consecutive game, played an efficient game at both ends of the floor, the level of competition notwithstanding -- and all those empty seats at the Palace of Auburn Hills showed what the locals think of the level of play. Detroit shot just 44.1 percent -- buoyed by some late scoring -- was outrebounded and committed 21 turnovers, with the Mavs taking 13 steals.
Coach Rick Carlisle got all of his key players out of the game with under seven minutes to go. With 5:24 to go Yi Jianlian made his Mavs debut as all 13 Mavs that suited up played.
What it means: Dallas is .500 for the first time this season at 5-5. It was an important win to nail down considering a well-rested Boston Celtics club is up next Wednesday night. Also, with San Antonio's road loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday, the Mavs moved one game back of the Spurs for the Southwest Division lead.
Play of the game: With the first quarter winding down, Vince Carter, dribbling out by the arc on the right wing, lofted a pass toward Mahinmi down low. The 6-foot-11 forward snared the pass on his fingertips to save it from going out of bounds at the baseline and in one motion switched the ball from his right to left hand and scored with a swooping lay-in at the rim for a 30-18 lead.
Stat of the day: Delonte West, starting for Kidd, delivered 10 assists, a season-high for West, but also a Mavs season team high. He finished two assists shy of his career mark.