The Dallas Mavericks are looking to put aside an ugly effort. They’ll get a chance to do so against an opponent that has turned in plenty of them.
The Mavericks will try to hand the Detroit Pistons a 10th straight loss Tuesday night as Dallas goes for a second straight sweep of the season series.
Dallas (23-11) leads the Southwest Division and trails only the Lakers in the Western Conference standings. The gap between those teams seems significant, though, after Los Angeles handed the Mavericks their worst loss of the season, 131-96 on Sunday.
“We just didn’t make shots, and when we tend not to make shots, we usually stop playing defense,” said guard Jason Kidd(notes), who was scoreless in 27 minutes. “That’s what we kind of reverted to. But it’s just one game. Now we go back home and play on Tuesday, so we’ll get back going in the right direction.”
The Lakers became only the third team to shoot over 50 percent against the Mavericks, connecting on 63.4 percent. Dallas shot 37.8 percent in the finale of a 2-2 road trip.
Nowitzki has averaged 27.0 points and shot 52.2 percent during a three-game winning streak against Detroit (11-21). He scored 25 as the Mavericks overcame 55 points from Rodney Stuckey(notes) and Will Bynum(notes) in a 95-90 road win Nov. 15.
The Pistons haven’t lost 10 in a row since dropping the final 13 games of the 1993-94 season. That team lost 62 games.
Detroit has not played since a 98-87 home loss to Chicago on Thursday. Stuckey scored 22 points despite leaving the game twice in the first half after spraining his left ankle.
“It hurt a lot - it always does when you sprain your ankle - and then it just gave out on me the second time,” Stuckey said. “I was going to play though it if I could even walk, though, because we need to get something going. There’s no way this group of players should only be scoring 87 points.”
The Pistons are finally healthy with Tayshaun Prince(notes), Richard Hamilton(notes) and Ben Gordon(notes) back after lengthy absences. Hamilton, though, has shot 24.1 percent in three games since returning from a sore right hamstring.
“I saw a number of positive things out there,” coach John Kuester said Thursday. “I’m sure people are going to hear that and say, ‘You must be kidding,’ but we did some good things. We lost Rip, Tayshaun and Ben Gordon for extended periods of time, and there’s no chance that they were going to come right back in midseason form.”
Detroit did not lead in the second half of any of its last six games.
Tuesday’s contest will be Nowitzki’s 873rd with Dallas, which will move him past Derek Harper for second on the franchise’s all-time list. He is 11 games shy of tying Brad Davis’ mark.