Dallas (20-15) at Detroit (23-13)

Light Rain Currently: Auburn Hills, MI
Temp: 52° F
  • Game info: 6:00 pm EST Sun Jan 11, 2004
  • TV: NBATV, FSD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Dallas Mavericks’ last game showed what can happen when they face a good defensive team. Few play defense better than the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons seek their longest winning streak in 13 years when they welcome the Mavericks to the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Detroit has won seven straight, thanks mostly to its outstanding defensive play. The Pistons have limited teams to 84.5 points per game, third in the league, and have set an NBA record by holding their last 38 opponents to fewer than 100 points.

The Pistons, who are riding their longest winning streak since March 1992, haven’t won eight in a row since an 11-game streak from Dec. 26, 1990-Jan. 17, 1991.

The Pistons will try to become the first team to hold three straight opponents to less than 70 points. They have surrendered just 67 points per game in their last two and 80.3 per game on 39.8 percent shooting during their winning streak.

“I mean, we feel so great right now, so I think everybody feels great right now,” Pistons center Mehmet Okur said. “I think we did a great job, so just right now we need to keep it up, go out there and play hard, give our best out there and if we play this way I think we’ll be fine.”

The last thing the Mavericks want to do is face another good defensive team after being pushed around by the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.

Dallas had an early double-digit lead, but was held to just 34 points in the second half in Indiana’s 92-80 victory. The Mavs shot just 36.8 percent and were held well below their season average of 101.6 points, which ranks second in the league.

Dirk Nowitzki scored just five of his 20 points in the second half, while fellow starters Antoine Walker and Michael Finley were both held to season lows of five.

Indiana is ranked just below Detroit in points allowed, so Dallas could be looking at another rough night if it can’t figure out what went wrong Friday.

“Were one of those teams where offensively we don’t have too many of these nights, so hopefully we can get it going,” Mavs reserve Antawn Jamison said. “We’re playing some teams that really play defensively first. It’s going to be a good test for us offensively to continue to be mentally tough because we’re playing some very aggressive teams.”

Dallas had no trouble with Detroit last season, averaging 108 points and winning by an average of 29.5 points. Finley averaged 33.5 points to lead the Mavs.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 9): Mavericks - 4th place (tied), 4 1/2 GB, Midwest Division. Pistons - 2nd place, 4 GB, Central Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Mavericks - F Walker, F Nowitzki, C Danny Fortson, G Finley, G Steve Nash. Pistons - F Tayshaun Prince, F Ben Wallace, C Okur, G Richard Hamilton, G Chauncey Billups.

TEAM LEADERS: Mavericks - Nowitzki, 20.1 ppg; Walker, 9.4 rpg; Nash, 8.1 apg. Pistons - Billups, 18.2 ppg and 5.3 apg; Wallace, 13.3 rpg.

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Mavericks, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 27, 2002; Mavericks, 102-82. At Auburn Hills, Mich., Finley scored 42 points and Nowitzki grabbed 15 rebounds. Wallace had 24 boards for the Pistons.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mavericks - 4-12 on the road; Pistons - 14-5 at home.

INJURIES: Mavericks - G Josh Howard (hamstring); F Tariq Abdul-Wahad (knee); G Jon Stefansson (ankle); F Eduardo Najera (knee). Pistons - F Corliss Williamson (back); G Hubert Davis (thumb); F Tremaine Fowlkes (back); G Lindsey Hunter (knee).

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