Pistons come up short against Mavericks
The Detroit News
Dallas -- The Pistons knew they couldn't stop Dirk Nowitzki, but felt if everyone else was held in check, they'd have a good chance of winning.
On Tuesday night, all the Mavericks needed was a lot of Nowitzki, mixed with a little Jason Terry as the Pistons fell 88-84 at American Airlines Arena.
Nowitzki scored a season-high 42 with 12 rebounds and Terry added 16 points, including timely buckets in the last three minutes.
The Pistons (5-9) did two things that are no-no's on the road: They got off to a slow start, trailing 11-0 and turned the ball over too many times in the first half (10).
Yet they regrouped enough to take a 12-point lead in the third quarter, and looked poised to win their third game on the road.
The Mavericks cut the deficit to five before the fourth quarter, then Nowitzki got hot in the fourth.
His 3-pointer in transition broke a 70-all game.
Pistons coach John Kuester went with a small lineup that had Tayshaun Prince guarding Nowitzki, and it backfired.
"Tayshaun's got length and he can do some things (defensively)," Kuester said. "He was really playing at a high level offensively, so we tried to take advantage of that."
Prince had three late baskets that helped the Pistons stay in it, but missed a free throw that could have cut the lead to two with 2:56 left.
The other side of the equation was Richard Hamilton.
Kuester re-inserted Hamilton for Greg Monroe with 5:13 remaining.
But Hamilton couldn't recapture the magic from Sunday night, when he carried the Pistons to an overtime victory.
"Rip had played so well the game before," Kuester said. "He didn't shoot the ball so well, but he played hard."
Terry and Nowitzki ran virtually one play for the last five minutes, and the Pistons had no answer.
The duo combined to score 24 of the Mavs' last 25, but the Pistons still had a chance late.
The Pistons used a small lineup late