DETROIT — From the players to the coaching staff, the Dallas Mavericks are befuddled as to why they keep losing games to teams who don’t have theirWood best player(s).

They also are mystified as to why they missed a whopping 15 free throws during Thursday’s 131-125 overtime loss to the short-handed Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.

“We have practice (today) and we have another day to get better,” said center Christian Wood, who scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shots. “We just have to pick it up, especially on the road.

“It’s going to be more physical on the road. Guys are going to try to be more physical with us as a team and we just have to hit back.”

While hitting back, the Mavs know they also have to be more proficient on the boards. They lost that battle by 22 rebounds on Thursday.

In addition, the Mavs must improve their play on the road, where they’re just 1-8.

“We fought,” coach Jason Kidd said. “Our team defense has to be better. We have to help each other. We’re giving up a lot of rebounds. It comes down to effort, and that’s something that we’ll talk about (today).”

LukaHere are the takeaways from the six-point loss to the Pistons.

MISSED FREE THROWS AND REBOUND OPPORTUNITIES: Thursday was a night where the Mavs should have been celebrating because they converted a solid 53.5 percent of their field goals and 41.3 percent of their three-point shots. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to take advantage of their hot-shooting spree. That’s because they were a dismal 14-of-29 from the free throw line. The Mavs also were outrebounded by a sizable 52-30 margin, including 13-4 on the offensive end of the court.

HAYES STEPPED UP: For the casual NBA fan who doesn’t know his name, Killian Hayes made sure they know it now. Not only did Hayes pour in 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting. He also delivered the game-winning clutch three-pointers that sacked the Mavs. A three-pointer by Hayes snapped a 125-all tie with 1:15 remaining in overtime. And his second three-pointer extended the Pistons’ lead to 131-125 with just 41.6 seconds to go.

DONCIC GOES FOR 35: Luka Doncic showed again why he really is s0 difficult to defend. The fifth-year point guard scored 35 points in 41 minutes Thursday. He was 13-of-25 from the field, including 7-of-14 from beyond the three-point stripe. It was the 15th time this season Doncic has tallied 30 or more points in a game, and the 11th time he’s scored at least 35 points in a game this season. Doncic tallied 20 of his points in the first half. It was the 12th time this season he’s scored at least 20 points in a half, which ranks first in the NBA.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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