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Mavs' Defense Fizzles in Disappointing Loss to NBA-Worst Pistons

The Dallas Mavericks found themselves in a closely-contested battle with the NBA-worst Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. Despite good offensive performances of Luka Doncic and Christian Wood, the Mavs' defense failed them in yet another disappointing loss.

Heading into Thursday night's matchup against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena, we knew things would be tough for the Dallas Mavericks despite them playing the worst team in the league. Here is an excerpt from our game preview earlier in the day:

Coming off a thrilling, slump-busting win over the Golden State Warriors, the Dallas Mavericks now face an even tougher task on Thursday … taking on the NBA’s worst team in the Detroit Pistons.

That scenario ended up being the case, as the Mavs have been very predictable all season. Coming off a big win against a hot Golden State Warriors team that ended a four-game skid, the Mavs got manhandled by the Detroit Pistons in a disappointing 131-125 loss in overtime.

In a game that ended up being decided by just six points in an extra period played, the Mavs shot 14-29 from the free-throw line as a team. That kind of performance from the stripe is unacceptable for a professional basketball team with one of the best players in the game, and coach Jason Kidd must find a way to fix that issue going forward. Dallas is the fifth-worst free-throw shooting team in the league through 21 games this season.

Luka Doncic led the way for the Mavs as he usually does with 35 points, five rebounds, 10 assists and three steals in 41 minutes of action. He shot 13-25 from the field and 7-14 from deep. Despite the impressive stat-line, Doncic was a team-worst -13 on the night.

After a disappointing outing against Golden State, Christian Wood bounced back against his former team by putting up 25 points, eight rebounds and three assists while shooting 10-13 from the field. When the Mavs entered the fourth quarter down by 10, it was Wood who got them back in the game with Doncic on the bench.

Although missed free throws and losing the rebounding battle 52-30 were the biggest reasons for the Mavs' demise, Pistons guard Killian Hayes had a big say in it as well. He ended up having the best game of his young career for Detroit with 22 points on 10-13 shooting – including several clutch shots down the stretch to seal the win. Coming into tonight's game, Hayes was shooting 34.6 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from deep on the year.

Bojan Bogdanovic, who gave the Mavs fits during the first round of the playoffs last season, led the Pistons with 30 points on 10-14 shooting overall and 5-6 from deep.

Next up, the Mavs take on the New York Knicks and Jalen Brunson, who left Dallas in free agency over the summer. The game will tip off at 11:30 a.m. CT at Madison Square Garden. We'll see if the Mavs can rebound from yet another embarrassing loss.

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