3 observations as Dallas falls in overtime to Detroit, 131-125

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The Dallas Mavericks fell in overtime to the Detroit Pistons Thursday night in Detroit, losing 131-125. The Mavericks had a hot night from the floor, shooting over 50 percent on field goals and 41 percent from three. Luka Doncic led the way with 35 points and Christian Wood looked good against his former team after a down game at home against the Warriors.

For Detroit, Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 30, and Killian Hayes contributed a season-high 22, including back-to-back dagger threes in OT that put the game out of reach.

What started by looking like a fun shootout where both teams disregard defense to run up the score, quickly morphed into Dallas getting pushed around by the worst team in the NBA. After both teams put up 36 points in the opening quarter, the Pistons built a 10-point lead over the next two quarters and led Dallas 99-89 entering the fourth. Even after Dallas came out hot and grabbed a one-point, 104-103 lead in just four minutes of game time, they quickly went flat and let Detroit bounce back, re-building their lead, 113-104. It took another big push to get the score even at 117 and push it to overtime. From there, the Mavs built a four-point lead in OT, but scored just two points over the final three and a half minutes of the game, and Detroit grabbed the win.

Free throws aren’t free

Dallas earns the fourth-most free throws in the league but shoots the fifth-worst percentage. No game was that disparity more glaring than tonight. Dallas took 29 shots at the charity stripe but converted a measly 14, good for only 48.3 percent. They shot worse from the free throw line than they did from the floor (53.5 percent).

In a game that went to overtime and they went on to lose by six points, 15 missed free throws are an easy and obvious culprit. There’s simply no reason a professional basketball team should be this inept from the free throw line.

road weenies

Much has been said about how this roster has remained shockingly stagnant over the past couple of years. That’s what makes Dallas’ home and road record disparity so shocking. Last year, their first under new coach Jason Kidd, Dallas posted a respectable 23-18 mark on the road. That has not been the case this season, as Dallas is just 1-8 on away from the American Airlines Center, including this most recent stumble against one of the league’s worst teams.

Next excuse

Before the win against the Golden State Warriors snapped a four-game losing streak, questions for Kidd regarding the team’s struggles were coming fast and furious. His favorite refrain has been that the team is simply not hitting their open shots. Well, on a night where they lit up the floor (from everywhere that wasn’t the free throw line), the Mavericks still couldn’t pick up a win. Something is rotten in Dallas, and if it doesn’t get figured out soon, this season is going to take an ugly turn after vibes were riding high following a surprising Western Conference Finals run.

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