O.J. Mayo scored 22 points and the Dallas Mavericks held on to beat the Detroit Pistons 102-99 on Friday night when Charlie Villanueva missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Dallas began the night 4 1/2 games behind eighth-place Utah in the race for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Mavericks blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, allowing Detroit to go ahead 97-96 on a 3-pointer by Khris Middleton.
Dirk Nowitzki made two straight shots to put Dallas ahead by three. It was 100-99 after Villanueva caught Jose Calderon's airball and made a layup with 6 seconds left.
Darren Collison made two free throws for the Mavericks, and Villanueva missed from the left corner.
It was the opener of a four-game road trip for the Mavericks that might represent their last chance to start making up ground and extend their streak of playoff appearances to 13 seasons. Mayo went 5 of 8 from 3-point range and teammate Mike James was 4 of 6. Dallas shot 11 of 21 from beyond the...