by Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — Big contributions off the bench and a strong finish lifted the Detroit Pistons past the Dallas Mavericks 95-85 on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
Jon Leuer led the reserve brigade with a season-high 19 points as the Pistons (14-13) bounced back from a lethargic effort on Sunday to beat Dallas for the third straight time on the road.
“It was really our whole bench,” Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. “If you just look at the plus-minus numbers, we won the game with our bench.”
Leuer was especially effective, knocking down 8 of 9 shots from the field and grabbing six rebounds. The Pistons were plus-26 with Leuer on the floor.
His shot felt good early.
“Just saw the first couple go in and I was able to build off of that,” said Leuer, whose previous season high was 17 points. “Anytime you get the first few to drop, the basket just gets bigger. It felt good to get in a rhythm and help the team.”
Aaron Baynes had 10 rebounds and eight points backing up starting center Andre Drummond. Fellow second teamers Stanley Johnson scored seven and Ish Smith had six assists.
Detroit was down 12 points in the third quarter before outscoring Dallas 43-21 to the finish line. A 27-5 run gave the visitors a 10-point edge (79-69) with five minutes left.
“Our defense kept us around and then we finally had a good offensive quarter in the fourth,” Van Gundy said. “We hung around long enough to give ourselves a chance to have one good quarter.”
Reggie Jackson ended the game with a flurry to score a season-high 20 on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and add six assists in 30 minutes. His previous high this season was 18 points against Orlando earlier this month.
Drummond pulled down 17 rebounds for Detroit, with 12 coming in the first quarter. Marcus Morris added 12 points, Kentavious-Caldwell Pope scored 11 and Tobias Harris chipped in 10 points.
The Pistons shot 50.7 percent from the field three nights after losing 97-79 at home to Philadelphia.
Harrison Barnes paced with Mavs (6-19) with 19 points and Deron Williams scored 16 despite going 3 of 13 from the floor. Salah Mejri had eight rebounds before leaving in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
“We’ll see how it is tomorrow,” said Mejri, who made his fifth consecutive start. “I hope nothing bad. We don’t need another injured center. We had an X-ray and it didn’t show anything bad. We’ll see tomorrow how it is and hope to be good by tomorrow.”
Mejri is the latest physical setback for the depleted Mavericks, who remain without Dirk Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut and J.J. Barea. Bogut should return by the end of the month and Barea in January. Nowitzki is out indefinitely, but Rick Carlisle said before the game that he expects the former MVP back this season.
The lack of bodies has made it nearly impossible to establish any momentum for the Mavs, who begin a stretch of five of six games on the road Friday at Utah.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating,” Wesley Matthews said. “We fought hard tonight, but a couple of sloppy plays, scoring drought, and it wasn’t from a lack of effort. We’ll look at where things went wrong and get ready to go back and get it back in Utah.”
The Pistons won despite a season-high 19 turnovers. Detroit, which finishes its two-game road trip on Friday at Washington, came in turning it over a league-low 11.6 times per game.
Dallas had season-best 13 steals, four coming from Matthews.