1. EFFORT WAS THERE: Certainly, there had to be some degree of difficulties trying to prepare for a game when you find out mere hours before the game that three of your starters will be traded to the New York Knicks. That’s what the Mavs were faced with when they discovered they would no longer have the services of point guard Dennis Smith Jr., center DeAndre Jordan or guard Wesley Matthews because they had been traded to the Knicks. Add that to the fact that Luka Doncic also sat out this game with an ankle injury, and the Mavs played the Pistons with a really short hand.
2. EFFORT WAS THERE PART II: Since the Mavs were battling Detroit without four of their starters, it was generally assumed that the Pistons would have their way with Dallas. But that was not the case. The Mavs, in fact, led for most of the way, and actually were ahead by 13 in the second quarter and by 11 with 3:18 remaining in the third quarter. But playing on the road on the second night of a back-to-back while only dressing 10 players eventually caught up with the Mavs. Thus, the fact that Detroit outscored Dallas, 30-19, in the fourth quarter was a product of the Mavs simply running out of gas.
3. BARNES LED THE WAY: Being the only regular starter in uniform, Harrison Banes did what anyone in his situation would do. He stepped up, took charge and put the team on his back. In the end, Barnes tallied a game-high 27 points on 10-of-24 shots. It’s the most points Barnes has scored in a game since he poured in 27 points some 20 games ago — during a Dec. 23 contest at Portland. It was also just the fifth time this season Barnes has made at least 10 field goals in a game. And the 24 field goal attempts are surpassed only by the 28 field goals he attempted in a Dec. 2 game against the LA Clippers.
4. HARRIS TO THE RESCUE: This was a come-to-the-rescue type of game for Devin Harris as he continues to show why he is so valuable to the Mavs. With Dennis Smith Jr. traded, Luka Doncic injured, and J. J. Barea out with season-ending Achilles surgery, Harris rolled up his sleeves and played a season-high 23 minutes against the Pistons. While playing both backcourt positions, he also had his fourth-highest scoring game (15 points) of the season. In addition, the six field goals Harris made ties his season-high for one game. He also made six field goals during a Nov. 28 contest at Houston.
5. HATS OFF TO DIRK: No one would have blamed Dirk Nowitzki if he would have stuck to his regular routine and sat out Thursday’s game. After all, this was the fifth time this season Nowitzki has been healthy when the Mavs played a back-to-back. And in the four previous situations, Nowitzki always sat out one end of that back-to-back. But not this time. Realizing the Mavs had a man shortage, Nowitzki played 13 minutes against the Pistons one night after he played 12 minutes Wednesday night against the New York Knicks. That ties for the second-most minutes Nowitzki has played in a game this season.