AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Dallas Mavericks normally have trouble getting rebounds, but they have improved in recent games. On Saturday night, they were better than the league’s top rebounding team.
The Mavericks’ 50-39 rebounding advantage was a key component to their 113-102 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night at The Palace.
Dallas ranks 24th in the NBA in total rebounding percentage but has outrebounded its last three opponents by an average of 15.7 per game.
“They’ve been inspired and it’s not by me,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “They’ve taken the challenge and we’ve just got to continue to do it.”
With the aid of 16 offensive rebounds, Dallas shot 48.9 percent from the field. Power forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points and forward Vince Carter added 18 off the bench.
Dallas (34-23), which has defeated Detroit five straight times, also received double-doubles from three other players. Guard Monta Ellis supplied 12 points and 13 assists, center Samuel Dalembert contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds and small forward Shawn Marion had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Point guard Jose Calderon added 11 points as the Mavs won for the eighth time in 10 games.
“When we limit their offensive possessions, it plays into our hands and gives us more momentum on the offensive end,” Marion said. “You win the battle of the boards, a lot of times you win the game.”
It also helps to keep turnovers to a manageable level. Dallas won at Philadelphia on Friday night despite a season-high 25 turnovers but cut that to 14 on Saturday night.
“They’re an athletic team and their big guys can run the floor,” Carter said. “You don’t want to give them layups and dunks and open 3s. We did a better job (with turnovers). We can get the job done when we’re efficient and take care of the ball.”
Forward Josh Smith scored a season-high 32 points despite a scoreless fourth quarter for Detroit (23-33), which has lost four of its last five games. Power forward Greg Monroe had 17 points and 17 rebounds and point guard Will Bynum chipped in 17 points and eight assists off the bench.
Center Andre Drummond, who leads the Eastern Conference in rebounding at 13.0 per game, was limited to three while battling foul trouble.
Detroit interim coach John Loyer thought Dallas’ experience made the difference.
“Some of those guys on that team have played together for quite a while and with our group, we haven’t played together that long,” he said. “They kind of pick you apart a little bit. They really spread the floor with shooters.”
The Pistons came out of the All-Star break just a half-game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but are now 3 1/2 games back.
“I don’t have a quitting bone in my body, so I don’t really understand that,” Bynum said. “I’m definitely going to give my best effort on a nightly basis.”
Detroit cut Dallas’ 13-point lead to four early in the fourth but could not get any closer.
A three-point play by Dallas guard Devin Harris with 7:30 remaining gave the Mavs a 101-92 lead. Ellis’ jumper with just under six minutes left stretched the Mavs’ lead to 11. When Nowitzki stepped inside the 3-point line and hit a jumper, Dallas was up 107-98 with 3:57 left.
The Pistons could not mount a threat from that point as Smith went 0-for-3 in the fourth.
“We were paying more attention to him, but Bynum got going, too, and the ball was just going in Bynum’s direction as much as anything,” Carlisle said. “We tightened it up and got stops we had to get.”
NOTES: PF Josh Smith’s 24 first-half points were a season high for a half by a Piston. PG Brandon Jennings scored 23 in the second half at Dallas on Jan. 26. … The Mavericks’ 64 first-half points tied the season high for halftime points allowed by the Pistons. … Dallas PF Dirk Nowitzki has 378 double-doubles in his career but just three this season. … Detroit C Andre Drummond’s NBA-leading 5.5 offensive rebounding average is 1.4 higher than the two players who are second on the list, the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Nikola Pekovic. “He’s had over 10 offensive rebounds four different times,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said of Drummond. “I haven’t heard of that since guys like (Dennis) Rodman were playing.” … Detroit is one of only two teams shooting below 70 percent from the foul line. It has a league-worst 66.2 average, with Houston ranking 29th at 68.9. … The Pistons began a stretch of four games against Western Conference teams.
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