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Luka Doncic-led Mavericks beat Pistons for 50th win


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Luka Doncic helped the Dallas Mavericks win 50 games, a relatively rare feat in recent times for the franchise.

The All-Star guard had 26 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds to lead Dallas to a 131-113 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

The Mavericks hit the 50-win mark for the first time in seven years, and only the second since winning their only NBA title.

“It’s a great achievement,” coach Jason Kidd said. “Guys in this dressing room can’t take it lightly because it’s not easy to do.”

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Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) is defended by Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Detroit .
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Dallas is 20 games above .500 for the first time since 2011, when they won the NBA title. The franchise is set to gain home-court advantage in the playoffs, for the first time since Kidd was their leader during the championship season, having started 2022 with a losing record.

“I think it’s quite impressive,” said Doncic. “We started the season rather slowly. I’m proud of the way we played and I hope we get to 52 (wins).”

Jalen Brunson had 24 points for the Mavericks, who have won five of their last six to build momentum heading into the playoffs next week.

Rookie of the Year contender Cade Cunningham had 25 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Pistons, who had won three in a row to match their longest winning streak of the season.

Even with the game out of reach in the final minutes, coach Dwane Casey had his starters on the field.

“It’s going to be one of the best teams in the West,” Casey said. “I wanted them to feel it and experience it.”

Dallas led by no less than eight in the first, but trailed 34-32 after Doncic and Cunningham each got their fourth assists in the final 3.4 seconds of the quarter.

The Mavs regained the lead in the second quarter and led 65-58 at halftime with Doncic scoring 16 points, contributing six assists.

Doncic was called for his fourth foul at 8:05 of the third. Kidd left him in the game and it turned out to be a smart move as Doncic was dominant, making a 3-pointer and an assist that put the Mavs ahead 93-77 at the end of the quarter.

Dallas had no trouble keeping its cushion comfortable in the fourth, finishing with 15 3-pointers on 33 shooting from beyond the arc.

“They do a great job of spreading out and making 3-point shots,” Casey said. “You make a mistake and they make you pay. They’re a great offensive team, exactly what we want to be in terms of moving the basketball and knocking down 3s,”

CROSSOVER

Kidd is among many to marvel that Tiger Woods will start the Masters on Thursday morning, 14 months after a car accident left him in a hospital bed for three months.

“What Tiger is doing has already broken the internet,” Kidd said. “If he’s in the running to win it, he’ll shut down the internet for good. What he’s done to come back is amazing. I think everyone’s going to be watching.”

ADVICE

Mavericks: Reserve Sterling Brown missed the game for personal reasons. … Forward Maxi Kleber (right ankle) has missed a second game in a row. … The Mavs have won five straight against Detroit, winning every game by double digits.

Pistons: The rebuilding team was without several injured players Marvin Bagley (hip), Hamidou Diallo (finger), Jerami Grant (calf), Cory Joseph (back), Rodney McGruder (hip) and rested Kelly Olynyk. “I think we have a few coaches and we’re ready to go,” Casey joked. … Faces in the crowd included Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, seated with former players Mateen Cleaves and Mat Ishbia, who has courtside seats.

FOLLOWING

Mavericks: Close out the regular season at home against Portland on Friday night and San Antonio on Sunday.

Pistons: Complete the regular season against Milwaukee on Friday night at home and at Philadelphia on Sunday.

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