Nowitzki, Mavs continue jaunt against Pistons
(SportsNetwork.com) - Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks look to stay on track when they resume a three-game road trip Saturday against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Mavericks opened the trip with Friday's 124-112 victory over the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, as Nowitzki led the charge with 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out four assists. Nowitzki is averaging 24.5 points per game in his previous 11 contests.
Nowitzki helped the Mavs to a 41-23 lead after the first quarter and finished with 19 points over the first 24 minutes, including 14 in the opening quarter. The Sixers were able to rally back, but ultimately lost their 10th in a row.
Dallas shot a season-high 62.3 percent from the field to help erase the 25 turnovers that led to 34 Philly points. The Mavs, who bounced back from their recent loss to Miami, are 17-4 when shooting 50 percent or better.
"We had an amazing start to the game," Nowitzki said. "We were shooting the ball and getting layups, and then they started to trap us a little bit. We didn't really react well to their run-and-jump defense. I think we had 17 total turnovers in the first half, and that really kept them in the game or got them back into the game. And then we had to kind of grind it out from there. You've got to give them credit. They kept competing."
Shawn Marion and DeJuan Blair scored 22 and 18 points, respectively, for Dallas, which won for the seventh time in nine tries and will close the trip Monday at New York. The Mavs are 15-14 on the road and one game ahead of Memphis for the final postseason spot in the West.
The Mavs are 16-8 against the East this season
Detroit is in the midst of playing three straight and eight of nine games at home, and halted a three-game slide with Friday's 115-107 win over Atlanta.
Greg Monroe had 22 points and 15 rebounds, Andre Drummond chipped in 20 points and 11 boards, and Kyle Singler added 20 points as well. Josh Smith had a double-double of his own, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Jennings compiled 12 points and 14 assists for the Pistons.
"Our guys went out in the second half and made them miss. I'll give our guys credit. They showed a lot of guts and determination," said Pistons interim head coach John Loyer. "You can go out there and kind of play hard, but not play well. Our guys played hard and played well."
The Pistons have a 13-17 home record and will end the stay Monday versus Golden State.
Drummond is averaging 15.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in his last 11 games. In the first meeting with Dallas this season, a 116-106 loss for Detroit, Drummond was held to four points and six boards. Nowitzki had 28 points in that one for the Mavs, winners in four straight and 11 of 13 games in this series.
Dallas is unbeaten in its last two trips to The Palace.