EditorsNote: Minor edits throughout, including adding paragraph break after 6th graf
One night after the media and players’ votes overrode the will of the fans to make rookie sensation Luka Doncic an All-Star starter, Dallas’ 19-year-old standout totaled 32 points, eight assists and eight rebounds to lead the Mavericks to a 106-101 victory over the visiting Detroit Pistons on Friday.
The rookie will have to wait until next week to see if the NBA’s coaches will select him as an All-Star reserve. The 6-foot-7 point guard will be in Charlotte, N.C., next month either way as a participant in the NBA Skills Challenge. Along with Doncic, recently embattled Mavs guard Dennis Smith Jr. showed off his explosiveness with 19 points and five assists to give Dallas back-to-back home wins.
Dallas’ dynamic backcourt erased a spectacular performance by Pistons forward Blake Griffin, who is practically a shoo-in to be selected as an All-Star reserve next week. He was a one-man show for Detroit, collecting a game-high 35 points, plus seven rebounds and four assists.
Andre Drummond, with 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson, with 12 points and nine assists, were the only other Pistons players to score in double figures.
Fifteen of Griffin’s points came in a second quarter in which Detroit was outscored 39-26, but thanks to Griffin managed to stay within eight, 62-54, at halftime.
The Pistons tied it four times in the third quarter, but each time quickly gave back the lead.
In the fourth quarter, Detroit failed to score on four possessions to take the lead. On the possession they did score to seemingly grab a 97-96 lead, two points were taken off the board moments later. A review of an earlier possession showed that Drummond’s basket came after the shot clock had expired, giving the lead back to Dallas at 96-95.
Dallas reserve Maxi Kleber, who had 12 points all on 3-pointers, made it 100-95 after he blocked Griffin on the defensive end, hustled down the floor, then swished a trailing 3-pointer.
Dallas center DeAndre Jordan finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Dallas avoided a disastrous loss considering it went 18 of 30 from the free-throw line.
—Field Level Media