Luka Doncic, Mavericks seek to stay angry

NBA

The Dallas Mavericks came out angry on Tuesday after having their winning streak snapped. They’ll have to do the same against the lottery-bound but scrappy Detroit Pistons on Thursday.

Dallas scored 28 unanswered points in the early going against Golden State en route to a 133-103 romp. The previous evening, the Mavs (34-27) had a three-game losing streak snapped by Sacramento.

“Everybody was (ticked) off because we didn’t play good right away (on Monday),” star guard Luka Doncic said. “I think we played really good defense (Tuesday) — the whole team. And that was the key to the game.”

The unanswered run of points was something special. The NBA has officially charted scoring runs since the 1997-98 season. Dallas’ run tied for the second-longest in league history, topped only by the 29-0 run by the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Milwaukee Bucks in 2009.

As usual, Doncic dictated the action. He racked up 39 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

With his team jockeying for the best possible playoff seed, coach Rick Carlisle wants to see the same kind of energy and defense during its trip to Detroit.

“We’ve got to take this momentum (from Tuesday) and turn it into momentum on Thursday night,” Carlisle said. “We’re just going to have to find a way to build on it. We just got to start another streak, and it’s not easy. When you have a little prosperity it’s always a little harder to dig deep, but our guys are ready.”

Doncic’s outburst on Tuesday was his highest scoring game since he fired in 42 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 17. He has reached the 30-point mark in four of his past six games.

Dallas should have a good idea what to expect from the Pistons, since they played them at home on April 21. The Mavs emerged with a 127-117 victory with Doncic supplying 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Jalen Brunson boosted the club off the bench with 20 points and five assists.

Jerami Grant led the Pistons that evening with 26 points and Mason Plumlee scored 13 points while taking only four field-goal attempts. He had team highs in rebounds (16) and assists (seven).

The Pistons (19-43) blindsided another playoff-bound team, Atlanta, on Monday. That 100-86 victory was fueled a strong bench that outscored the Hawks’ reserves 44-22 and finished out the game.

“It’s big time. In this league, you’ve got to have two rotations,” guard Frank Jackson said. “When we come in and lock in and do our job, we’re really solid.”

Jackson has developed into an impact scorer with Detroit while playing on a two-way contract. He has contributed 14 or more points in seven of his past 10 games.

“I’m so excited about his growth,” coach Dwane Casey said. “Here’s a young man who got cut (by Oklahoma City in December), comes in as a two-way player who has earned every inch of his playing time. He’s special. I know he’s a keeper.”

The victory over the Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak. Detroit hasn’t won two in a row since March 17-19, when it defeated Toronto and Houston.

–Field Level Media

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