The Detroit Pistons' Vernon Macklin (left) is fouled by the Dallas Mavericks' Yi Jianlian in the fourth quarter of their NBA game on Tuesday in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Mavericks defeated the Pistons, 100-86. Duane Burleson / Associated Press
Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are beginning to show their championship form again. Of course, the Detroit Pistons are making a lot of teams look good these days.
Nowitzki scored 18 points, and the Mavericks reached the .500 mark by routing Detroit 100-86 on Tuesday night. Dallas started its NBA title defense slowly, losing four of its first five games, but the Mavericks have bounced back.
Dallas (5-5) won on the road for the first time, leading by as many as 28 in the second half. Shawn Marion scored 14 points and Vince Carter added 11 for the Mavericks.
"We've had some rough ones, but tonight was a good one all around," Marion said. "Everybody was contributing, helping each other."
Will Bynum scored 20 points for Detroit. The Pistons (2-8) have lost five straight games, and this was actually the least lopsided of the bunch thanks to a late run. The Mavericks, playing without injured point guard Jason Kidd, went on runs of 13-0 in the first quarter and 16-0 in the third.
Nowitzki shot 5 of 22 over his previous two games, but he broke out of that slump against the Pistons, going 9 of 10. He made all six attempts from the field in the first half, and Dallas shot 55 percent for the game.
"It's a road win that we haven't had yet, so that's really important to us," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Momentum has been elusive for us, so we respect how tough it is competitively in this league right now, but our goal is to build on this."
The Mavericks made their first eight shots and took a 19-4 lead on a layup by Marion. They finally missed when Delonte West lost control of the ball while going for a one-handed dunk on a fast break. The score was 23-9 at that point.
"As I've said, this process may be very painful," said Lawrence Frank, the new coach of the rebuilding Pistons. "It doesn't get better just because you want it to get better. I hope we are all frustrated because when you are, you have two options. The first is to work harder and understand what you want to do. The second choice isn't an option."