for this game

Pistons' defense keys rout of Mavericks

Feb 3, 2008 - 11:27 PM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - The Detroit Pistons used a strong defensive performance to continue their winning ways on Sunday.

Rasheed Wallace had 21 points and nine rebounds as Detroit held the Dallas Mavericks to its lowest scoring output of the season, posting a decisive 90-67 victory at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Tayshaun Prince added 16 points and rookie Rodney Stuckey had a season-high 11 for the Pistons, who have won five straight games following a three-game losing streak.

Detroit did it with defense as the Mavericks shot a season-worst 30 percent (23-of-76) from the floor, including 2-of-14 from the arc. It was the first time Dallas failed to score 70 points this season, and the 67 points was also their lowest point total since scoring 65 in a loss to Utah on February 26, 1999.

"When we are playing our best, that's how we play," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We play physical, we get after it, we make teams react to what we do and we don't stay back. We become more proactive."

Detroit used an 11-2 run to take a 20-14 lead after the first as Dallas missed its last 14 shots of the opening quarter.

"It wasn't all jump shots," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "We just weren't clicking, and they did a good job of taking stuff away. They were sitting four or five guys on the strong side to take away our driving lanes, and we didn't make them pay for it."

Detroit continued to put the clamps on Dallas defensively, but failed to pull away in the first half, leading just 44-38 at the break. The Mavericks shot just 29 percent (12-of-41) from the floor in the first half.

"It was a great defensive effort, especially against a great offensive team, a lot of shooters, a lot of weapons," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, who had nine points and six assists. "It really was a great defensive effort by us today."

But Dallas continued to struggle on the offensive end in the second half, and Detroit started to pull away by the end of the third quarter.

The Pistons ended the third on a 10-0 spurt - capped by a Richard Hamilton jumper - to take a commanding 66-51 lead entering the fourth, essentially putting the game out of reach.

The Mavericks never got closer than 13 the rest of the way and the Pistons led by as many as 26 with 1:27 left to play.

Wallace shot 9-of-18 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from the arc and also had four blocked shots.

"We know that Dallas is a good team," Wallace said. "That could possibly be a team that we face in the Finals so we've just got to go out and set the tone, set the mark, knowing that hey, possibly we could meet them in June."

Dirk Nowitzki had 15 points and 10 rebounds but shot just 3-of-18 from the field for the Mavericks, who have lost two straight games after a four-game winning streak.

"He was aggressive in the first half and just couldn't get it going in the second half," Johnson said of Nowitzki. "But it wasn't just Dirk, everybody had a tough second half."

Josh Howard also scored 15 points for Dallas, which dropped to 11-12 on the road this season.