Auburn Hills — It was another dead night at The Palace on Wednesday. The crowd was dead. The Pistons were dead and even the winning team appeared to sleepwalk for much of the night.
But the Dallas Mavericks got happy feet in the third quarter, turned the game into a track meet and ran away from the Pistons, 117-106.
The reality is the Pistons cannot keep up defensively with the better teams in the league, having given up 113 and 117 points to the Los Angeles Clippers and Mavericks, respectively.
"They got everything," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They got layups. They got threes. They got free throws. We didn't take anything away from them tonight. Nothing."
Here are some ugly numbers for the Pistons (5-21). It was their 15th loss in the last 17 games and their 11th straight home loss. The Palace, which rocked during the days of Isiah Thomas and Chauncey Billups, hardly provides a home-court edge these days. The announced crowd of 12,287 is far from capacity.
There was some Pistons power. It came from center Andre Drummond, who finished with 19 points, 24 rebounds, four steals and three blocks before fouling out late in the game. Drummond was all over the place and outworked Mavericks center Tyson Chandler, who still managed to put together a decent game with 16 points and nine rebounds.
If not for four missed dunks, it may have been a game for the ages for Drummond. He also seems to be picking up Van Gundy's new defensive system. He did foul out but most of his fouls came late in the game as he protected the bucket from attacking Mavericks.
"I was really trying to outwork them," Drummond said. "I played my game. They did a good job of taking away some of the easy plays for me. I tried to do my best to help my team get in a good position to win the game, but it didn't happen for us."
Drummond drew the ire of Van Gundy, who called an early timeout to settle him defensively. But other than that, the coach was happy with Drummond.
"I thought at the beginning of the game I think he started with low energy," Van Gundy said. "After that I thought he had energy and athleticism to put forth the game that he had. It wasn't like he was just getting easy stuff. He was running and he was working."
Mavericks shooter Dirk Nowitzki (18 points, 10 rebounds) decided to chill until the final moments, during which he turned from passive bystander into jump-shooting machine. He scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including two 3-pointers that allowed Dallas to pull away.
"He has incredible balance," Van Gundy said. "He can shoot off both feet and he is always able to get consistency on his release. He is a hard guy to bother. I have seen guys right up on him defensively and you cannot be in a better position, and the ball ends up in the middle of the net."
Chandler Parsons scored a career-high 32 points for Dallas (19-8) and Monta Ellis added 25 points and eight assists.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 and Brandon Jennings had 13 points and seven assists for Detroit.
The Pistons return to action Friday, hosting the Toronto Raptors at 7:30 p.m.