Nowitzki leads Mavs past PistonsNov 16, 2009 - 2:42 AM AUBURN HILLS, Mich.(AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks had several things going for them Sunday night.
The Detroit Pistons were missing Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, and leading scorer Ben Gordon had one of the worst nights of his career, going 1 for 16 from the floor.
That wasn't enough to make things easy for the Mavericks, though, as they saw Gordon get an open look at a game-tying 3-pointer with 2 seconds left.
Gordon, though, missed again and the Mavericks hit two free throws to ice a 95-90 victory.
"We knew that they were going to give us a battle and they did," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were fortunate to get out of this one alive, but we'll take it."
Pistons coach John Kuester said that he never hesitated in calling the final play for Gordon.
"Are you kidding?" Kuester asked. "I have nothing but the utmost confidence in Ben, and we wanted him to take that shot. I expected him to knock it down, and I'll call it for him again when I get the chance."
Kuester said that Gordon was feeling ill before the game, but Gordon said it had nothing to do with his performance.
"I was getting great looks at the basket, but I could never get myself into any kind of rhythm," Gordon said. "I was getting open, and I can't start turning down shots, but nothing felt good and nothing looked good."
The Mavericks had their own health problem, as center Erick Dampier was scratched moments before tipoff after falling ill. Dampier was taken to a local hospital for tests during the game. Carlisle said that he would be held overnight for observation, but that the problem was not considered serious and Dampier was expected to return to Dallas on Monday.
That moved Drew Gooden into the starting lineup, and he responded with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"I didn't know I was starting until they were announcing the lineups - I though Erick was still on the floor with us," Gooden said. "This was an opportunity, and with all the talent on this team, I knew I needed to take it."
Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points, and rookie Rodrique Beaubois added 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting for the Mavericks. Shawn Marion matched Gooden's 11 points, and Jason Kidd added 10 points and seven assists.
"Sometimes, things don't go the way you draw them up and you have to grind a game out," Marion said. "This was going back and forth, but we got some big stops in the fourth quarter and hit some shots."
Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 28 points, and Will Bynum had 27, including 17 in the fourth quarter.
"Stuckey was phenomenal and Will gave us a lot off the bench," Kuester said. "We're disappointed that we lost a game like this, but these guys gave it everything."
The Pistons led late in the third quarter, but a turnover let the Mavericks get back-to-back dunks at the end of the period for 71-66.
Detroit tied it at 78 with 6 minutes left, but Nowitzki answered with a three-point play. After Charlie Villaneuva made a free throw for Detroit, Nowitzki made a jumper and Jason Terry hit a 3-pointer to give the Mavericks a 86-79 lead with 4:21 left.
Nowitzki added a running jumper with 35.3 seconds left, but Bynum's jumper and Terry's miss gave the Pistons the ball with 5.7 seconds left, down 93-90. Gordon, though, finished his horrible night by missing an off-balance jumper.
"We were paying attention to him, but that's a shot he usually makes," Carlisle said. "We were fortunate to get the win, but we worked for it."
NOTES: The game was Detroit's third straight against one of its former coaches - Charlotte's Larry Brown, Washington's Flip Saunders and Carlisle. ... Stuckey injured his ankle on Terry's fourth-quarter 3-pointer and did not return. Kuester said that Stuckey offered to come back for the final play, but the coaches decided to be cautious. ... Pistons rookie Jonas Jerebko, the NBA's first Swedish player, got a post-game visit from Detroit's favorite Swedish athlete - Red Wings captain Nick Lidstrom.
DETROIT 90 FINAL
Nov 15 8:29 PM
DETROIT 66 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 15 7:50 PM
DETROIT 46 HALFTIME
Nov 15 7:10 PM
DETROIT 18 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 15 6:39 PM
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