Mavericks Beat Pistons For Third Straight Win

Feb 19, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea (5) calls a play as he dribbles the ball against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea (5) calls a play as he dribbles the ball against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

89. 64. 98. 79. Final

The Dallas Mavericks made it three wins a row with a gutsy performance in Detroit against the Pistons to return to .500 and stay in the Western Conference playoff race.

Riding a modest two-game winning streak heading into April Fool’s Day, the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t afford to halt the momentum they had built with wins over the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks as March came to an end – no fooling around with that fact.

The Mavericks maintained their seventh seed in the Western Conference with a huge 98-89 victory over the Detroit Pistons, who currently hold the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Both of these teams desperately needed victories, and the Mavs simply wanted this one more.

The day after Dallas beat New York at American Airlines Center, guard J.J. Barea welcomed a newborn daughter into the world, this after torching the Knicks for 26 points in what, at that time, was possibly the biggest win of the season.

On Friday, Barea darted to The Palace at Auburn Hills straight from the airport to join his teammates for what amounted to another playoff game – Barea then proceeded to light up a hungry Pistons team for 29 points.

Since that 18-point performance against the Denver Nuggets on Monday, Barea has been on a tear. Over his last three games, the pint-sized point guard has scored a total of 73 points. The Mavericks are 3-0 during the stretch, which also has the team missing starting point guard Deron Williams for the past five games and counting. Guard Raymond Felton was also held out of Friday’s action due to a strained groin.

Barea started off shooting 9-for-11 to help the Mavericks stay in the game before Pistons forward Marcus Morris slowed down after hitting four three-pointers in the opening minutes.

Barea’s first two missed shots still ended up getting points. His first miss near the rim bounced right back to him before Barea laid up another bucket. The second miss was immediately flushed down by reserve center Salah Mejri.

Speaking of Mejri, the 7’2” tall Tunisian added six points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. He also had two long passes, one for an apparent Detroit alley-oop, that were disrupted to create turnovers.

Dirk Nowitzki entered Friday’s game in Detroit trying to press through a horrible shooting slump. In his last two games, Nowitzki had gone 9-of-40 from the field in Dallas’ last two wins, but then broke out in Motown for a more effective 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting.

Head coach Rick Carlisle continues to keep whipping up lineup formulas that seem to confuse the opposition, both offensively and defensively. The starting lineup has been a nightly guessing game as of late and even substitution patterns are hard to predict. Zaza Pachulia, whose seen his minutes drastically cut in favor of Mejri, David Lee and even second-year veteran Dwight Powell, got the start against the Pistons.

Perhaps most interesting about the present three-game winning streak is the fact that Dallas has yet to allow an opponent to score 90 points or more.

Is this a defensive presence being cultivated by the Mavericks? Dallas held Detroit to just 11 points in a second period in which Barea (13 pts.) outscored the Pistons by himself.

This seems to be the case, as Carlisle, whose is also missing small forward Chandler Parsons, seems willing to rotate most of his roster in highly unpredictable fashion, which also seems to be keeping fresher bodies on the court.

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The Mavericks have six games remaining on the schedule and it appears that Dallas has the most difficult run of either of the two other teams standing in the immediate path to the postseason, the eighth-seeded Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets, who remain a full game out of the playoff bracket at 37-39.

The Mavericks finish a two-game road trip with a Sunday afternoon affair at Target Center against the NBA Lottery-bound Minnesota Timberwolves beginning at 2:30pm CDT.

  • Published on 04/02/2016 at 11:06 AM
  • Last updated at 04/02/2016 at 11:06 AM