Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/9

Game 1: Saturday, November 9th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 27th

Mavericks 102


Pistons 82

(11-4, 6-1 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:30 PM ET, November 27, 2002

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 28 29 29 16102
DET 26 19 11 2682

Top Performers

Dallas: M. Finley 42 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

Detroit: B. Wallace 2 Pts, 24 Reb, 4 Blk

Finley scores 42 as Mavs close in on history

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.

Michael Finley

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 will.

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's shoulder.

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 team.''

Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points and 15 rebounds for 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 season.

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 for us.''

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 said.

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.

Game notes

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