The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Detroit Pistons 115-105 on Thursday night. They decided to rest Luka Doncic and Dorian Finney-Smith as the Pistons had six players out. The Mavericks needed the win to stay in sixth in the Western Conference. Things went from bad to worse when Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out for the rest of the game with knee soreness, but Tim Hardaway Jr. was not going to let Dallas lose.
The victory puts the Mavericks one game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers in the standings. Remember, only the top six teams advance directly to the playoffs this season. Seven through ten in each conference are part of the play-in tournament. Fans can get the specifics of the play-in here. The Mavericks would love to avoid the madness and finish in the top six.
Hardaway Jr. lifted the short-handed Mavs over the Pistons on Thursday night. His family was in attendance in Detroit, and THJ responded by setting a new career high. Here is a closer look at his incredible performance and what it could mean going forward.
Tim Hardaway Jr. makes history as Dallas Mavericks defeat Detroit Pistons
Hardaway Jr. was back in the starting lineup with Luka and Doe-Doe out. He had six points as the Mavericks and Pistons were tied at the end of the first quarter. THJ came alive in the second, though. He dropped 11, including this 3-pointer to help give Dallas the advantage at the break.
The Pistons fought back in the third quarter. Hardaway Jr. had eight points and one steal as the Mavericks led by three heading into the fourth. They had already ruled out KP for the remainder of the game, though. Dallas needed Timmy to step up and lift them to victory without their two stars.
Hardaway Jr. did not disappoint. He had 17 consecutive Mavericks points in the fourth quarter to take Dallas from tied at 94 to being ahead by four. THJ could not miss a shot in the final period.
Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 42 points, three assists, and one steal in 36 minutes of action against the Pistons. He was 13 of 23 from the field, including hitting six 3-pointers. THJ set a new career-high in scoring, and Dallas needed every point to top the Detroit Pistons for their 35th win of the season.
Hardaway Jr. had been mired in a shooting slump, but he broke out of it on April 29. The Mavericks need him to be their third scorer in the playoffs. His ability to create his own shots is massive. Hopefully, Thursday’s performance is the start of him locking in for the postseason.
The Dallas Mavericks are back in action on Saturday night against the red-hot Washington Wizards. That is the first of a back-to-back set as they host the Kings on Sunday. The Mavs have ten games over the next 17 days to close the regular season. Every single one matters as they hold a slim margin over the Trail Blazers for sixth. Fans will not want to miss a second of the action, so stay tuned.