Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 1/10/12
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points, and the Dallas Mavericks reached the .500 mark by routing the Detroit Pistons 100-86 on Tuesday night. The defending champion Mavericks (5-5) started their NBA title defense slowly, losing four of their first five games, but they've bounced back. Tuesday's win was their first on the road. Shawn Marion scored 14 points and Vince Carter added 11 for Dallas, which led by as many as 28 in the second half. Will Bynum scored 20 points for Detroit. The Pistons (2-8) have lost five straight games, and this was actually the least lopsided of the bunch thanks to a late run. The Mavericks, playing without injured point guard Jason Kidd, went on runs of 13-0 in the first quarter and 16-0 in the third. Nowitzki shot 5 of 22 over his previous two games, but he broke out of that slump against the Pistons, going 9 of 10. He made all six attempts from the field in the first half, and Dallas shot 55 percent for the game. The Mavericks made their first eight shots and took a 19-4 lead on a layup by Marion. They finally missed when Delonte West lost control of the ball while going for a one-handed dunk on a fast break. The score was 23-9 at that point. After Detroit's Greg Monroe scored a basket to start the second half, Dallas answered with 16 straight points to make it 68-40. Marion, Brendan Haywood and Nowitzki each had dunks during the run. Midway through the fourth quarter, Jason Terry had the ball on the baseline when he lobbed it toward the rim. Dallas reserve Brandan Wright dunked it with one hand for an 88-61 lead. Kidd missed his second consecutive game with a lower back problem. Detroit's Rodney Stuckey (groin) and Charlie Villanueva (right ankle) didn't play either. Stuckey hasn't played since last Wednesday, which was the start of this dreadful stretch for the rebuilding Pistons. Detroit misses Stuckey's ability to penetrate on offense. Rookie Brandon Knight started at point guard Tuesday, but he had six of the Pistons' 20 turnovers. West had six points, 10 assists and five steals. NOTES: The Pistons had only two rebounds in the first quarter, when the Mavericks shot 10 of 14. ... Nowitzki is now 19 points short of 23,000. ... Yi Jianlian, recalled from the NBA Development League on Monday, played 5:24 for Dallas. He had a foul and a rebound. ... Detroit's previous defeats in this streak were by 16, 23, 23 and 24. No NBA team has lost four straight games by at least 23 points, according to STATS, LLC. The last team to lose five in a row by at least 16 was the Washington Bullets, who dropped six in a row by at least that margin in March 1994. The Pistons narrowly avoided that distinction.
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