DALLAS — Even when things are going badly for the Dallas Mavericks, they can count on a visit by the Detroit Pistons to get them back on track.
The Mavericks snapped a two-game losing streak with their sixth consecutive win over Detroit at American Airlines Center, separating late for a 116-106 victory Sunday night.
Led by forward Dirk Nowitzki’s 28 points, Dallas (26-20) beat Detroit for the 11th time in the teams’ past 13 meetings overall.
The Pistons (17-27) lost their four game in a row.
If Nowitzki needed to make a case for a 12th All-Star berth, the league’s 13th-leading scorer didn’t disappoint in the opener of a four-game homestand. He made 10 of 16 shots, including three of five 3-pointers, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists.
“Twenty-eight points in 32 minutes,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Do you think he’s an All Star?”
He will get no argument from Detroit coach Maurice Cheeks.
“We know Dirk,” Cheeks said. “He’s been doing this for a long time. The way he picks and pops, catches the ball, he either makes a play for someone else or for himself. He always seems to make those 3s. That’s what he’s been doing for a long time.”
Mavericks guard Devin Harris scored 14 off the bench and racked up seven assists, providing a spark to finish out the third quarter and as Dallas blew the game open in the fourth. Harris missed most of the season with a toe injury before returning recently.
“It’s been going better and better each game,” Carlisle said. “He’s obviously worked extremely hard. Getting more rhythm, more feel, shots are going in now, and he just made plays.”
The Mavericks scored the first 10 points of the final period to turn a three-point game into a 13-point advantage, and they cruised to the win.
Guard Brandon Jennings paced the Pistons with 26 points, 12 coming in the third quarter. Forward Josh Smith scored 25 and grabbed eight boards. Forward Greg Monroe finished with 20 points and nine rebounds.
The Mavericks shot a sizzling 58.1 percent (43-for-74) and had five players score in double figures. Joining Nowitzki and Harris were guard Jose Calderon (17 points), guard Vince Carter (13) and guard Monta Ellis (11).
The return of Harris is a welcome sight for Dallas’ starting point guard.
“We knew he was going to be a big help for this team,” Calderon said. “He can do a lot of things for us. He can play D, he’s fast, he can shoot the ball and we can play with different rotations when he’s in the game. He’s been good so far, and he’s getting better every day.”
Jennings led a push to open the second half as the Pistons took a 63-62 lead with a 17-6 run. Harris hit a couple of shots late in the third, as Dallas went into the final period up 84-81.
“We made a nice run,” Cheeks said. “I thought Brandon played well in the third quarter. I thought that was the difference for us to get back in the game, the way he played, pushing the basketball and trying to get easy baskets.
“I think that’s what we did. We got some stops, although they still shot 58 percent for the game, but we got some stops and were able to get some easy baskets.”
Dallas was up as many as 12 before taking a 56-46 lead into halftime behind 13 points from Nowitzki. Ellis had nine points at the break.
The Mavericks made 10 consecutive shots in the first quarter and Nowitzki scored eight, but they couldn’t pull away. The Pistons were down just 28-25 thanks to 11 points from Smith and seven Dallas turnovers in the period.
The Mavericks’ run at American Airlines Center continues Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. The Pistons return home Tuesday to play the Orlando Magic.
NOTES: Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is certain F Dirk Nowitzki will be named an All-Star when reserves are announced Thursday. “I’ve looked at it pretty closely and he’ll make it,” Carlisle said. “I just have a feeling he will. If he doesn’t, that’s great, he’ll have rest.” … Detroit hasn’t won a regular-season series against Dallas since 1997-98. … The Pistons fell to 1-10 in their past 11 games against Western Conference teams. … Dallas G Vince Carter turned 37 Sunday. Among the four players 37 or older in the league, Carter’s scoring average of 11.3 points trails only San Antonio F Tim Duncan’s 14.6.
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