Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/6

Game 1: Monday, December 6th
Pistons101Final
Mavericks85
Game 2: Monday, March 28th
Mavericks95Final
Pistons88

Pistons 101

(9-8, 4-7 away)

Mavericks 85

(12-7, 7-4 home)

Coverage: WDWB

7:30 PM ET, December 6, 2004

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
DET 23 26 32 20101
DAL 17 22 24 2285

Top Performers

Det: C. Billups 24 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Dal: D. Nowitzki 27 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Dallas drops fourth home game

DALLAS (AP) -- Even when the Detroit Pistons have a big offensive game, all they want to talk about is defense.

While Chauncey Billups tied his season high with 24 points and Richard Hamilton added 19, the Pistons were more proud of the way they stifled Dirk Nowitzki in a 101-85 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

Nowitzki came in as the NBA's leading scorer at 27.4 points per game. He still got 27, but it wasn't easy as 15 came on free throws. Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace harassed Nowitzki into going 3-for-17 through three quarters with a run of 10 straight misses from late in the first quarter until midway through the third.

"You just have to stay in front of him and make it as difficult as possible," Ben Wallace said. "You can't let him get layups early in the game because once he gets comfortable, he easily gets on a roll."

Nowitzki was coming off games with 53 and 30 points. He offset his cold shooting on jumpers by going to the basket as much as possible, but free throws couldn't provide the momentum Dallas needed. The Mavericks trailed by 10 at halftime and 21 late in the third, getting no closer than 12 the rest of the way, even once Nowitzki began finding his stroke.

"It was frustrating because I had a lot of good looks," Nowitzki said. "I kept shooting because everyone needs me to do that and they told me to do that, but I was cold."

The Pistons wrapped up a four-game road trip at 3-1, with the victories coming by a combined 60 points and the only loss coming by three at San Antonio. Detroit also got Ben Wallace back from a suspension on the second game of the trip.

"We're regaining our form and playing the right way," Billups said. "This was one of our best games of the season. We dominated throughout against one of the better teams."

Dallas seems to bring out the best in Detroit's offense. The Pistons had their two highest-scoring games last season in their two games against the Mavericks and this marked just the third time this season they've broken 100.

Billups got them rolling with their first eight points, then Hamilton took over in the third quarter. He had 13 points in the period, going 4-of-5 with a 3-pointer and making four free throws.

Dallas scored a season-low 39 first-half points en route to their fourth home loss and second on a four-game homestand. The Mavericks lost only five home games last season. They hardly had their usual home-court advantage, however, as a Dallas Cowboys game going on at the same time led to many empty seats, and the big deficit silenced the crowd.

With Nowitzki off and the fans out of it, Dallas hardly had a chance.

"I felt very useless tonight," coach Don Nelson said. "I couldn't do much to help the team. ... We will just have to regroup."

Probably the biggest cheers came with 3:24 left, when Rasheed Wallace was called for a technical for arguing a foul after bumping Erick Dampier while going for a rebound. Wallace riled up fans earlier in the quarter when he jammed an elbow into the back of Shawn Bradley's ear while trying to get around a screen for Nowitzki; he complained about that call, too.

Rasheed Wallace scored 13, Tayshaun Prince added 12, including two stunning dunks, and Elden Campbell hit his first four shots while scoring a season-high 11. Ben Wallace followed a career-high 22 points with eight, but added 15 rebounds.

Jerry Stackhouse scored 13 for Dallas, Josh Howard had 12 and Erick Dampier scored 11 and had 14 rebounds.

Point guard remains a problem for the Mavericks. Rookie Devin Harris started the game and was scoreless with four assists in 13 minutes, and backup Jason Terry had five points and three assists in 19 minutes. Newly acquired Darrell Armstrong had seven points and two assists in 27 minutes; he also started the second half.

Starting off guard Marquis Daniels, who was expected to run the offense some this season, had four points and two assists in 19 minutes.

Game notes


The Pistons (9-8) moved above .500 for the first time they were 5-4. ... Thanks to Billups and Hamilton, Detroit's starting backcourt outscored Dallas' 43-4. ... The Mavericks had broken 100 the last four games against the Pistons. ... Nowitzki has made 62 of his last 65 free throws. ... Dallas didn't lose its fourth game at home until Jan. 31 last season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DET
DAL
Points 101 85
FGM-FGA 38-79 (.481) 30-90 (.333)
3PM-3PA 5-14 (.357) 3-21 (.143)
FTM-FTA 20-27 (.741) 22-29 (.759)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-49 14-43
Assists 20 15
Turnovers 14 9
Steals 7 5
Blocks 5 6
Fast Break Points 20 16
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 21 (0/0)
Largest Lead 21 6

Top Performers

Detroit
Dallas
Chauncey Billups Billups
Points: 24
Reb: 4
Ast: 8
Stl: 2
Blk: 1
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 27
Reb: 8
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 2