After coming up short against the Boston Celtics on Saturday, the Detroit Pistons set out Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks to brush themselves off, tuck their jerseys back in and get back to their winning ways.A tough task for any team, but for the surging squad from Detroit, an accomplishable task nonetheless.
The Pistons had, after all, just reeled off nine consecutive wins vaulting themselves up and into second place in the entire NBA.
But much to the chagrin of the passionate Pistons fans watching from home, and any of those who’ve found themselves crossing their fingers in hopes of an Eastern Conference revival, Dirk Nowitzki and his band of merry Mavericks made sure to remind us that it’s never quite that easy.
It certainly had to have been Nowitzki’s idea – at least in part – as the gangly German frequently stood out from the rest of the cast placing confidence-crushing, run-thwarting jumpers wherever he saw fit, effectively taking any hope the Pistons had of overcoming the early deficit they uncharacteristically fell victim to, bringing it aside, and kindly sending it back home. Nowitzki finished the contest with 23 points and nine rebounds.
The lead bounced around from 10 points to seven, back to 15 and down to 12. It bounced in the first quarter and into the second. A bona fide run to end the first half put the Pistons within five, but as the third quarter ensued the Mavs would quickly call upon their most reliable cogs and dismiss the Motown faithful once again. The second half was, unfortunately again for those passionate Pistons fans, not unlike the first.
Joining Dirk in his assault of the visiting Pistons was a number of different characters including the athletically-gifted Devin Harris who careened, capered and contorted his body to the tune of 19 points of his own.
Jerry Stackhouse, a former Piston himself, played a big role in smashing the Pistons aside as they faught to catch up in the second half. Stack finished the game with 15 points, a mere half of what he used to average while he played for the Pistons, but just enough to give him bragging rights as the Mavericks walk away with the win.
Leading the charge for Detroit were the usual suspects, Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
One bright for the Pistons was the continued success of rookie point guard Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey instantly injected a sense of energy into his lethargic teammates but it wasn’t enough for the squad to pull themselves up on top. He did, though, tie his career-high of 10 points in just his 10th game of the season.