THE FACTS: O.J. Mayo had 22 points as the Dallas Mavericks escaped with a 102-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons at The Palace on Friday. The Mavericks gave away a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead. Brandan Wright scored 14 points and Dirk Nowitzki chipped in 12, including two crucial late baskets. Brandon Knight's 21 points topped the Pistons, who have lost four straight and seven of their last eight. Greg Monroe, who missed Detroit's game against New York on Wednesday with a left ankle sprain, added 14 points and 10 rebounds but Charlie Villanueva missed a potential tying 3-pointer on the last possession.
QUOTABLE: "That (15-point) lead kept us afloat, especially when we started missing shots and they started hitting big shots. We've just got to learn from our mistakes. We've got to learn when we get a big lead like that, how to continue to keep moving forward instead of getting comfortable, thinking that we're fine and there's still eight or nine minutes left in the game."
-- Dallas guard Mike James on his team's wild fourth quarter.
THE STAT: 5. Detroit was a powerhouse in the last decade, winning an NBA title and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals six straight seasons. Those days are long gone. With its latest loss, the 41st of the season, the Pistons are assured of their fifth straight non-winning season. That hasn't happened since they had six straight losing seasons from 1977-78 through 1982-83.
TURNING POINT: Nowitzki was uncharacteristically quiet through three quarters, attempting just seven shots. He finally emerged from the shadows after the Pistons rallied to take a 97-96 lead. He made an 18-footer and a 15-footer on back-to-back possessions and that was just enough to allow the Mavericks to survive.
QUOTABLE II: "We want to execute on both ends. We left a very good shooter open who was starting to feel his groove. I don't care how many minutes he played, he hit one or two and got into a groove. I just want us to focus on closing the game."
-- Vince Carter on his team leaving Villanueva open in the corner.
HOT: Mayo had a career-high 12 assists in a victory over Houston on Wednesday but his shooting stood out on Friday. He made five of nine 3-point attempts, as Dallas went 11-for-22 from long range. He also helped out on the boards with five rebounds and added three assists.
NOT: Rodney Stuckey, who has played more minutes than any other Detroit reserve, was averaging 2.8 points over his last four games. He managed to go below that figure, scoring just one points in 13 minutes. Stuckey was passive, attempting just one shot. He has had trouble adjusting to being off the ball on most offensive possessions.
ROOKIE WATCH: Reserve forward Khris Middleton, one of two second-round picks by Detroit last year, had a career-high 14 points and five rebounds. Middleton made two 3-pointers during his team's fourth-quarter outburst. Starter Kyle Singler shot 3 for 11 and scored nine points but had three steals. The Mavericks' Jae Crowder scored two points in a starting role.
NOTABLE: Mavericks forward Shawn Marion was a late scratch because of a left calf injury. Coach Rick Carlisle used his 20th different lineup this season. ... Pistons coach Lawrence Frank missed his second game to be with his ailing wife Susan in New Jersey. Brian Hill filled in for him. ... The Mavericks have won 10 of the last 12 meetings. ... The Pistons kick off a four-game West Coast swing against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Detroit plays 12 of its remaining 18 games on the road. ... Dallas made at least nine 3-pointers in the last four games. ... The Mavericks had seven players in double figures while shooting 52.6 percent.
UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Sunday @ Minnesota, Tuesday @ Milwaukee, Thursday @ San Antonio. For the Pistons, Sunday @ L.A. Clippers, Monday @ Utah, Wednesday @ Golden State.