Another bad third quarter did the Pistons in. And the first quarter wasn’t so good, either.
The Dallas Mavericks notched 30-plus points in each of those periods, on the way to a big blowout. The Pistons didn’t have an answer for the Mavs’ 3-point shooting and fell in a 116-86 laugher to Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
It’s the ninth loss in the last 10 games for the Pistons (12-42), who have lost five straight on the road.
Hamidou Diallo had 18 points and five rebounds, Jerami Grant 15 points and Isaiah Stewart 14 points and 15 rebounds.
The Mavs were powered by their outstanding 3-point shooting, finishing at 50% (18-of-36) from beyond the arc. Luka Doncic finished with 33 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists — including 5-of-9 on 3-pointers — for the Mavs (32-23) and Jalen Brunson added 21 points and four assists.
Doncic and Brunson got going early in the first quarter, scoring 21 of Dallas’ first 30 points. Doncic accounted for 15 of those points and Brunson, who had a pair of 3-pointers in the stretch added six.
Doncic scored or assisted on 29 of the Mavs’ first 36 points, which set the tone for their offensive outburst.
“It set the whole tone and as well as we played, against Minnesota (on Sunday) and put ourselves in position to win, I thought we played just as bad tonight,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Our attention to detail on switching and our one-on-one defense versus (Doncic) and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks, we did not do a good job.
“I don’t know the answer to it right now, but we’re going to find out exactly what it is, and we’ve got to find seven or eight guys that are going to consistently compete and be focused and do what we should be doing.”
Trey Burke (18 points) finished the first quarter with a pair of 3-pointers, and the Mavs led, 36-26. The Pistons had a 7-0 spurt to start the second period, with jumpers by Kelly Olynyk and Frank Jackson, and a 3-pointer by Jackson, to get within three, but the Mavs answered with a 7-2 run, with a jumper and three-point play by Brunson.
The flurry of 3-pointers continued throughout the game, with former Pistons wing Reggie Bullock going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, hitting one at the 1:27 mark of the second quarter for a 63-47 margin.
The deficit was still manageable at 65-51 at halftime, but the Mavs had a big third quarter, including a 16-1 streak, when the Pistons went without a field goal for more than six minutes. That stretch ended with a basket by Olynyk at the 1:46 mark. The Mavs finished the third quarter with a 33-20 margin and held a 98-71 lead entering the final period.
Doncic was a difference-maker for the Mavs, and his versatility made it tough to defend, especially for Stewart, who got his chance to guard Doncic on switches.
“He’s a good player and you have to guard him from 3,” Stewart said. “When you have a player who can shoot from well beyond the arc, it’s a tough guard.”
The Mavs started the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run, with back-to-back 3-pointers by Bullock, and they cruised the rest of the way.