Mavericks star Luka Doncic buries Detroit Pistons, without Cade Cunningham, 116-86

Detroit Free Press

DALLAS — Midway through the third quarter, Luka Doncic, standing four steps behind the 3-point line, calmly knocked down a jumper as the shot clock expired.

About two minutes later, Doncic threw a no-look lob from halfcourt to Dorian Finney-Smith, who finished the alley-oop with authority.

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Doncic, of course, is one of the NBA’s most talented players. And the superstar entered Tuesday’s game in the midst of a dominant stretch, recording triple-doubles in seven of his last 15 games. The Mavericks, too, have hit their stride by winning 15 of their last 20 games before hosting the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons, who were without Cade Cunningham for the fourth straight game as he recovers from a right hip pointer, were unable to stop their momentum. The Mavericks blew Detroit out, 116-86, to hand the Pistons their fifth-straight loss and 11th in 13 games.

It was Detroit’s biggest loss since they fell to the Chicago Bulls by 46 points on Jan. 11.

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Doncic had a brilliant performance with 33 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in 35 minutes. The Mavericks iced the game with a 31-8 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters. Jalen Brunson scored 21 points, and former Michigan point guard Trey Burke added 18 points off of the bench. Dallas shot 50.6% overall and 50% (18-for-36) from 3.

Hamidou Diallo led the Pistons with 18 points, Jerami Grant scored 16, and Isaiah Stewart added 14 points and 15 rebounds. Trey Lyles scored 12 points off of the bench.

The Pistons tied the game at 21 with 3:46 to play in the first quarter, but Dallas closed the quarter with a 15-5 run. Detroit got within three points early in the second following a 3-pointer from Frank Jackson, but the Mavericks outscored Detroit, 44-30, through the rest of the quarter and led by double-digits the rest of the way.

Detroit shot 37.9% overall and just 16.7% — 5-for-30 — from behind-the arc. Their 3-point percentage was a season-low, and their five makes tied their season-low.

Cunningham misses hometown debut

Cunningham was listed as questionable going into Tuesday’s game, but there was enough pain in his right hip after suffering a fall against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 1 that Detroit’s medical staff decided to play it safe.

But it was an unfortunate outcome for Cunningham, who was born and raised in Arlington, Texas, and had a host of family and friends at the game. His family members at the game included his parents, Keith and Carrie, his older brother Cannen and his daughter, Riley.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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