Compared to Luka Doncic on Draft night, Cade Cunningham had a complicated night even though he finished with 25 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. The Pistons had Killian Hayes on the Slovenian, and it worked pretty well for a quarter. The Pistons are not very skilful, but their enthusiasm allows them to take the lead after twelve minutes (34-32).
It was Spencer Dinwiddie who struck first to launch a 7-0 and widen a first gap (45-38). But Detroit hangs on, and Jason Kidd is slow to put Luka Doncic back into play because of fouls. Result: Frank Jackson restores the advantage to the Pistons (51-50). The Slovenian comes back into play, and everything changes. He distributes the game wonderfully, and his teammates are in a chair to shoot. Like Reggie Bullock in the right corner. Dallas has regained color, and found its seven-point lead (65-58).
Returning from the locker room, Luka Doncic quickly picked up his 4th foul, but Jason Kidd decided to leave him in play. Risky but wise choice since Dallas made the break with superb ball circulation, like on this lucky basket at the buzzer of 24 seconds by Jalen Brunson. Doncic enjoys his bindings, but also his step-back. Detroit let go (93-77), and we understand better why since Dallas shot more than 80% in the quarter: 14 out of 17!
The last quarter allows Davis Bertans to regain confidence. He takes advantage of the good circulation of the ball to shoot in good conditions. The gap stabilized around 15 points, before Luka Doncic transformed the match into an All-Star Game with this pass behind the head for Dorian Finney-Smith. The Pistons are more than 20 points behind, and Dallas picks up its 50th win of the season.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Suspense in the West. Another small victory or defeat for the Jazz, and Dallas will be sure to finish 3rd or 4th, and therefore have home advantage in the first round. Just behind, Utah is still under threat from the Nuggets, who themselves can still finish 7th. Note that the Mavericks have the “tie-breaker” on the Warriors in the event of a tie.
– Goal 51. For the first time in seven years, the Mavericks reach the 50-win mark. But they can still do better and grab that symbolic number of 51 wins. It was Dallas’ total in 2011, the title year, with Jason Kidd in charge.
– No four in a row. The Pistons remained on three wins in a row, and they were therefore aiming for a 4th success in a row. What had not happened to them this season.
✅ Dallas shooters. With the exception of Luka Doncic (2 of 11 from 3-pointers), the Mavericks were very skilful with a 13 of 22 from 3-pointers for Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, Davis Bertans and Josh Green. As usual, Luka Doncic fixed two, even three defenders, and then he served his shooters. But we retained the search for the extra-pass.
✅Jalen Brunson. He gave problems to Cade Cunningham, while being effective in attack. He scored 24 points without losing a single ball.
✅⛔Luka Doncic. Clumsy from afar and quickly sanctioned by the referees, Luka Doncic still signs a full game with 26 points, 14 assists and 8 rebounds.
✅⛔Cade Cunningham. Same observation for Cunningham, clumsy but a quality “playmaker”. When he breaks the first curtain, then he is hard to stop. Very comfortable on counter-attack and transition.
⛔Saddiq Bey. The roller coaster for the Pistons shooter who makes a bad copy: 1 out of 11 on shots. It must be said that opposite, there is beefy on the outside with Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith or even the precious Josh Green.
Detroit (23-57) : the last at home on Friday against the Bucks
Dallas (50-30) : the Mavericks end the season in front of their home crowd, against the Blazers on Friday then the Spurs on Sunday