Sunday , Mar , 18 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons welcome Mavs in battle of conference bests

(Sports Network) – A matchup between two of the best teams in the league is on
tap today, as the Dallas Mavericks open a six-game road trip in Detroit
against the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Both Dallas and Detroit are the leaders of their respective conferences. The
Mavericks hold a four-game edge over Phoenix in the West for the best mark in
the NBA while the Pistons lead Cleveland in both the East and the Central
Division by two games.

The Pistons and Mavericks have met once already this season with Detroit
recording a 92-82 win over Dallas on December 7. That loss was the second in
three games for the Mavericks, who have gone an incredible 40-5 since.

The Mavericks, though, were recently coming off consecutive defeats for the
first time since dropping the first four games of the season, but rebounded on
Friday against Boston. Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 of his 30 points in the final
quarter and sealed Dallas’ 106-101 comeback win over the Celtics by nailing a
jumper in the closing seconds.

Nowitzki also had 12 rebounds and went 12-of-13 at the foul line. Josh Howard
equaled a career-best with 30 points and added eight boards for Dallas, which
is expected to be without guard Devean George due to a sore right knee.

Dallas is 22-7 on the road this season and will continue its swing in New York
on Tuesday.

Detroit bested Dallas’ conference rival in its last time out, as Ronald
Murray’s season-high 25 points and six steals paced the Pistons past Phoenix,
105-83, on Friday at US Airways Center.

Rasheed Wallace had 20 points for the Pistons, winners of five straight games.
Chris Webber chimed in with 17 points and nine rebounds and Carlos Delfino
came off the bench to score 13 points and grab seven rebounds for Detroit,
which is 19-12 as the host this season.

Guard Chauncey Billups played just over 13 minutes against the Suns before
straining his left groin. He is questionable for today’s game.

Dallas and Detroit have split their season series over the past three seasons.
The Pistons have won three of the last five as the host in the series.