Dallas Mavericks wake up in second half, pound Pistons

DALLAS -- Before Saturday's home game against the Detroit Pistons, Rick Carlisle was expounding about the slump guard O.J. Mayo had been mired in over the previous three games.

A debate was raging over whether the recent cold spell by Mayo had anything to do with his ankles, both of which he twisted within the past week only to keep on playing.

"They might be bothering him a little bit, but he's not going to complain about it," Carlisle said. "Pain tolerance and toughness varies from player to player.

"What I love about him is he's tough and he'll compete. If I was in a fight, I would want him on my team... and Elton [Brand]."

Mayo proved his toughness once again Saturday by pouring in 27 points -- including 24 in the second half -- as the Mavs used an explosive second half to blow out the Pistons 92-77. Dallas, which snapped a three-game losing streak, is 8-9 and will open a three-game road trip Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

Detroit was spanking the Mavs all over the floor in the first half, leading 48-42 at intermission as it looked as if it were going to be another long and dreary night for Dallas. But Mayo turned up the juice in the third period when he tallied 16 points during a 17-4 rally that pushed the Mavs ahead 59-55 with 4:22 remaining in the quarter.

In the previous three games, Mayo was 11 of 34 from the field, including 1 of 10 from 3-point range, and tallied only 28 points. Against the Pistons, the fifth-year guard scored his 27 points on 10 of 21 shots, including 6 of 9 buckets from 3-point range.

While Mayo was igniting the crowd, so was Brand, who poured in eight of his season-high-tying 17 points in the fourth quarter. Brand also ended up with a season-high-tying 12 rebounds in easily his best game of the year.

"There's just a real sense of urgency -- we needed to get off the schneid," Brand said. "We have lost a few games that we thought we could have won.

"Coach is giving me the opportunity to play, and if I'm out there, I always think I can help the team."

Elsewhere, newcomer Derek Fisher started the game at point guard but showed he still has some rust to clean off his game. Fisher played 24 minutes, was 1 of 8 from the field, grabbed two rebounds, handed out three assists, committed three turnovers and scored just two points on a goaltending call.

Still, the Mavs go beyond the numbers when analyzing what Fisher means to their ballclub.

"I think it's good that we get some experience," owner Mark Cuban said. "You guys have been hearing me say that our guards have got to learn and get better.

"Now we've got someone on the court who can help and in the locker room who can help them. So I think it'll be a real positive."

The Mavs were trailing 51-41 before Mayo got extremely hot. Then they went on another brilliant run -- this one 13-0 -- to assume a commanding 80-61 lead with 8:10 left in the game following a 3-pointer by Vince Carter.

Before his bucket, Carter fed Brand for a basket and also assisted on a hoop by Bernard James.

The Mavs held the Pistons to 34.1 percent shooting and outscored Detroit in the breakout second half by a dominating 50-29 margin.

"We got stops, and we got in transition," Carlisle said. "We struggled in the first half with shot-making, but we had a lot of good looks.

"We felt we just had to stay the course and do a better job rebounding."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

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