AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Michael Finley couldn't be stopped by
the league's best defensive team, leading the Dallas Mavericks
within one victory of matching the best start in NBA history.
Finley was at his best Wednesday night, scoring a career-high 42
points before leaving for good with more than 8 minutes left as
Dallas defeated the Detroit Pistons 102-82.
With a 14-0 record, the Mavericks will be looking to match the
best start in NBA history -- 15-0 by Washington in 1948-49 and
Houston in 1993-94 -- when they play at Indiana on Thursday night.
"We'll have our hands full in Indiana,'' Mavs coach Don Nelson
said. "If we get beat, it's no big deal.''
The big deal against Detroit was the way Finley scored almost at
He shot 13-for-28 from the field and 15-for-17 from the line
while adding 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals as the
Mavericks, for the second time this month, steamrolled the Pistons
in a matchup of two of the top teams from either conference.
After leading by as many as 52 in a 114-75 victory over Detroit
on Nov. 9, the Mavs turned this one into a laugher during the third
quarter. So comfortable were the Mavs in the fourth that Nelson ran
three consecutive isolation plays for Finley to allow him to
surpass his previous career high of 39.
"When you come into an environment like this, you have to play
aggressive and play championship-type basketball,'' Finley said.
Finley reached 40 on a fadeaway from the corner over Corliss
Williamson with 10:05 left in the fourth. When the Mavs ran the
same play and Finley faked Williamson off his feet, Williamson
flagrantly fouled Finley as he tried to get off a shot, bruising
Finley made both shots to reach 42, and Williamson got a huge
ovation on Dallas' next possession when he finally was able to keep
Finley from scoring on the exact same play.
"This was a disappointing effort, but that is a great team,''
Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "I wish we could have played
better for our fans, but at least they got to see a great Dallas
Ben Wallace grabbed a season-high 24 rebounds, but that was
about the only positive for a Pistons team that was stymied by
Dallas' zone defenses in losing at home for the first time this
The marquee outside the Palace touted a matchup of Unbeaten vs.
Unbeaten at Home, and the Pistons drew a sellout crowd of 22,076.
"It's getting bigger today than ever before,'' Nelson said.
"But that's kind of fun when you're a really good team like the
Lakers. We're not used to that -- coming into the city and
everybody's laying (in wait) for you. It's different, but it's good
Nelson could have panicked after Steve Nash was called for two
questionable fouls in the first 85 seconds, but he left his point
guard in and let him run an offense that looked for quick shots in
transition at every opportunity.
The Pistons kept things close for the first 12 minutes before
Finley took over as defenders Jon Barry and Hubert Davis were
helpless to stop him.
Hitting his first six shots of the second quarter from the
outside, Finley scored 19 points in the period to help Dallas build
a cushion. Finley attempted 22 shots in the half, tying Mark
Aguire's team record.
The offensive onslaught continued in the third quarter, as
Dallas was able to score in the halfcourt while Detroit remained
baffled by the Mavericks' zone.
"Offensively, we pretty much got what we wanted,'' Nowitzki
After Nowitzki hit a turnaround jumper for a 70-49 lead with
7:15 left, several fans booed the home team. But perhaps the most
egregious moment for the Pistons came when 6-foot point guard Avery
Johnson, isolated one-on-one against Wallace, drove the lane and
scored over Wallace for a 78-54 lead.
Billups (sprained ankle) is expected to remain sidelined
until next Wednesday. "He's back shooting, but he's not running or
doing anything with the team,'' Carlisle said. ... Dallas expects
to have Nick Van Exel, recovering from knee surgery, available for
Saturday night's game against Chicago. Raef LaFrentz, out since the
second game of the season with a sprained right ankle, is more
likely to return Monday against Toronto. ... Dallas F Popeye Jones
made his first appearance of the season after missing 13 games with
a bad back. He had two points and one rebound in eight minutes.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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11/28 @IND 7:30pm 11/30 CHI 7:30pm 12/02 TOR 7:30pm 12/04 @POR 7:00pm 12/06 @LAL 7:30pm