Luka Doncic returns to score 53 as Detroit Pistons fall to Mavericks in Dallas, 111-105
DALLAS — Luka Doncic has been one of the NBA's most electric players since he first stepped on the floor, and he had one of the best performances of his career against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
Doncic scored 53 points, but it was the other things that cost the Pistons in the 111-105 loss.
Their young ball-handlers, Killian Hayes and Jaden Ivey, both fouled out with ample time to play. The officiating, which saw several calls go against the Pistons, led to tempers flaring throughout the fourth quarter. In the end, the Pistons couldn't capitalize on what was otherwise a competitive night.
It was a feisty game by a team that has suffered several frustrating losses in the last month. Pistons coach Dwane Casey argued several calls with the refs, and Doncic exchanged words with Detroit's bench and Isaiah Livers toward the end of the game. Spencer Dinwiddie was the only other Maverick to score in double figures with 12 points.
In the end, Doncic's 53 points were tough to overcome.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 29 points, and Saddiq Bey added 18. Ivey tallied 14 points, but fouled out with 6:30 to play. Hayes, who had eight points on 3-for-16 shooting and led the team with seven assists, fouled out with 2:38 remaining to leave Alec Burks as the defacto point guard. The Pistons were without Hamidou Diallo because of a stomach illness.
Doncic scored 45 of his 53 points through the first three periods. He took a long rest in the fourth quarter, giving the Pistons an opportunity to capitalize. But after underwhelming all night, the rest of the Mavericks stepped up and gave Dallas some cushion before Doncic re-entered the game midway through the period. Dinwiddie scored six early points in the midst of a 9-2 surge to open the fourth quarter, giving Dallas the lead for good.
However, a missed call also helped swing the game in Dallas’ favor. Dinwiddie airballed a 3-pointer three minutes into the period, but the clock reset when Dwight Powell grabbed the offensive rebound. It gave the Dinwiddie enough time for a second-chance layup, extending their lead to six. The Pistons were furious at the missed call, and they were unable to complete a comeback even as Bogdanovic did his best to give them a chance.
Bogdanovic scored 12 of his 29 points in the final period and went shot-for-shot with Doncic in the final minutes. But the long cooldown didn’t cool Doncic off, as he scored six points in the last two minutes and 40 seconds to close out the game for Dallas.
The opening three minutes gave Pistons fans a feeling of deja vu. Dallas opened the game with a 10-0 run, threatening to put them away early as the Milwaukee Bucks did a week ago. The script went differently this time, though.
After an early timeout, Detroit used 22-7 run to take control of the game. The Mavericks have been a one-man show this season. Doncic is one of the front runners for MVP, and he drew most of the Pistons’ resources on defense. They sent multiple defenders at him in an attempt to make him uncomfortable and get the ball out of his hands. Doncic thrived individually, but his teammates suffered.
Doncic scored 24 of Dallas’ 30 points in the opening period on 7-for-8 shooting. The rest of the Mavericks shot 3-for-10. But he only scored three more points before halftime, and his teammates shot a combined 11-30 through the first two periods. The Pistons capitalized to take a 57-53 halftime lead.
Through three quarters, Detroit played energetic and organized basketball. Bey kept momentum rolling in the second half by opening the third quarter with a pair of 3-pointers. A putback dunk from Jalen Duren extended their lead to 11 — their biggest of the night — just over two minutes into the period. Detroit led from the 6:20 mark of the second quarter until the 11:23 mark of the fourth.
The Pistons appeared to have the game under control, until Dinwiddie found his rhythm early in the fourth quarter and swung the game in Dallas’ favor.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa.