Detroit Pistons dusted by Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, 127-117

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons got several of their key players back in time for a tough road game against the Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic, though, made sure his squad, which is in the Western Conference playoff hunt, left the building with a win.

Doncic nearly had a triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and the Mavericks defeated the Pistons (18-41) at American Airlines Center, 127-117.

Jerami Grant, who returned after missing Monday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, led the Pistons with 26 points. Cory Joseph added 24 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Mason Plumlee, who also missed Monday’s game, tallied a double-double with 13 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists.

The Pistons led by seven points at the 8:08 mark of the second quarter, but Dallas used a 29-13 run before halftime to take control.

The game was the first of two in two nights in Texas. The Pistons visit San Antonio for an 8:30 p.m. matchup against the Spurs on Thursday.

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Cory Joseph starts, shines

When the Pistons acquired Joseph from Sacramento shortly before the trade deadline, it wasn’t clear how big a role the veteran point guard would play. Joseph joined a crowded backcourt, with Killian Hayes, Dennis Smith Jr. and Saben Lee all seeking minutes.

Joseph has had the most prominent role of the four. It’s partially due to injuries — Smith has only appeared in four games since the deadline, and Hayes has missed four games since returning on April 3, due to not playing on back-to-back nights.

It’s also because Joseph has been solid for the Pistons. Before Wednesday’s game, Joseph was averaging 10.8 points, 5.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 13 games with Detroit while shooting 48.6%. He has six starts, including Wednesday against the Mavericks, with Hayes and Smith both out of the lineup.

He kept the Pistons afloat during the second and third quarters, with Grant cooling off after a hot start due to foul trouble.

Jerami Grant starts strong in return

We haven’t seen much of Grant in recent weeks. He missed five of Detroit’s previous seven games with a left quad contusion and right knee soreness. As he has often this season, he got off to a hot start Wednesday. And it might’ve been a bigger night for him if foul trouble hadn’t cost him minutes.

Grant scored 15 points in the first quarter, making six of his initial eight attempts. But he picked up three fouls in the first half, followed by his fourth foul early in the third quarter after knocking down a pair of free throws to get to 18. He had only played about 15 minutes up to that point, putting him on pace to break his career-high of 43 points. He avoided any more fouls and played 27 minutes, hitting nine of his 16 attempts, including a 3-for-6 night from 3-point range.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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