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Pistons host Mavericks in battle of conference leaders

Mar 18, 2007 - 1:40 PM Dallas (53-11) at Detroit (42-22) 3:30 pm EST

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- With an increased devotion to playing tighter defense, the Detroit Pistons continue to frustrate their opposition.

After sweeping a five-game road trip, the Pistons return home Sunday to try and finish a regular-season sweep of the Dallas Mavericks in battle of the league's two conference leaders.

The 2004 NBA champions, the Pistons rank third in points allowed (92.1) this season. They have won 17 of their last 21 contests, limiting their opponents to just 87.9 points during that stretch.

Detroit allowed an average of just 83.4 points and forced 19.6 turnovers during the road trip. The Pistons capped the journey with Friday's 105-83 triumph over the Phoenix Suns.

Flip Murray scored 25 points on 12-of-16 shots and set a career high with six steals for Detroit. It was his first outing in double figures since January 15 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thanks to their winning streak, the Pistons are two games in front of the Cleveland Cavaliers (41-25) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Dallas remains focused on getting back to the Finals after losing the title to the Miami Heat last June. The Mavericks have won 18 of 20 and are four games ahead of the Phoenix Suns (50-16) for the league's best record.

After a pair of losses to Golden State and Phoenix following a 17-game winning streak, Dallas bounced back with Friday's 106-101 win over the Boston Celtics.

All-Star Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Josh Howard added 30 points for the Mavericks, who are averaging 107.6 points in their last six outings.

Detroit posted a 92-82 victory over Dallas in their earlier encounter December 7. Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points for the Pistons, while Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 29.

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