Mavs knock off Pistons, 102-86

DALLAS (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons are streaking in the wrong direction now.

Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points to lead Dallas in scoring again, and the Mavericks won 102-86 to hand the Pistons their second straight loss after an 11-game winning streak. It's only the second time this season Detroit has lost consecutive games.

Dallas stretched its winning streak to five in a row.

Four nights after the Pistons' 92-85 loss to Boston when they blew a 12-point lead, this one wasn't even close. They led only 14 seconds against Dallas -- after Chauncey Billups hit a short runner on their first shot of the game to lead 2-0.

Nowitzki led the Mavericks in scoring for the 10th straight game on 10-of-15 shooting, while Devin Harris had 19 points. Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Terry had 15 points each.

Erick Dampier, who sat out the last two games because of a swollen left knee, was 3-of-3 shooting to extend his streak of consecutive made field goals to a team-record 14. The last was a slam dunk with 4:45 left that made it 95-75.

Richard Hamilton had 18 points to lead the Pistons, while Billups had 16.

The only real flaw in Dampier's game was the technical foul he got for hanging on the rim on that closing dunk for his 14th straight made basket over his last three games. Since missing all three shots against Cleveland on Dec. 27, he has had games of 6-for-6, 5-for-5 and 4-for-4.

Dampier finished with seven points and had an impressive assist midway throught he first quarter, when he saved a missed Dallas shot from going out of bounds. Then he made a nifty pass to Nowitzki for a basket. That was the first of three straight made shots by Nowitzki -- part of a 21-10 surge in which the Mavericks scored on nine straight possessions to go ahead by double figures.

The Pistons were within 48-43 at halftime, but Dampier swatted away a quick shot and Nowitzki hit a 15-foot floater. Harris then had a one-handed windmill dunk, before another basket by Nowitzki and a 3-pointer by Harris that made it 57-47.

Terry had a pair of 3-pointers, sandwiching a 12-footer by Nowitzki, in an 8-0 run midway through the third quarter after Detroit had closed to within 57-51. And the Pistons never got closer.

Dallas (24-11) moved into a virtual tie for the Southwest Division lead with idle San Antonio, where the Pistons play on Thursday night.

Walter Herrmann came off the bench midway through the second quarter and gave the Pistons a boost. There was a wild sequence when he got called for a foul on Nowitzki away from the ball, then drew an offensive foul from Nowitzki 7 seconds later.

Herrmann then hit a 3-pointer, and Rasheed Wallace and Billups later hit consecutive 3s.

Wallace finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.


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