Pistons edge Mavericks in the End …
They came to the Palace of Auburn Hills to make a stand, then wound up on the wrong end of one as the Detroit defense stood strong at the end, holding the Mavericks to two points in the final 4:30 and nothing in the final 2:19.
After Marquis Daniels' short baseline jumper put the Mavericks up 88-86 with 4:34 left, they were outscored 11-2, a clunker of an ending to an otherwise charged-up game.
"That's as good as it gets in this league," said Jerry Stackhouse of the playoff-intensive atmosphere. "It was a live feeling in the building. And we were right there.
"We're much better than we showed tonight. We normally close games out a lot better than we did. I just think we didn't play smart. That cost us the game, as well as offensive rebounds throughout the game."
The Pistons had lost by 37 at American Airlines Center in November. This time, neither team led by more than four points in the fourth quarter until Detroit pulled away in the final seconds.
The Mavericks did just enough to stay in the Pistons' shadow. And they did just enough wrong to sabotage themselves.
"We fought," Johnson said. "This was a playoff atmosphere. We wish we'd have been able to match their intensity down the stretch. But we didn't. We just did not execute. We were hesitant. We didn't get to the foul line. We didn't deserve to get there. We didn't make strong enough moves."
Stackhouse, Diop with big performances in big game …
Stackhouse, who played for the Pistons from 1997 to 2002, said he still feels comfortable at the Palace.
"Obviously, I'm quite familiar with these rims," he said. "And this was a competitive atmosphere. If you can't get up for that game, something's wrong."
The Mavericks got numerous strong efforts against the Pistons, including a nine-rebound showing from DeSagana Diop, who will be making an emotional return tonight to Cleveland, where he played his first four NBA seasons.
It was Diop's block of Rasheed Wallace's layup that helped spring the Mavericks to an 84-80 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Diop and Erick Dampier helped battle the Pistons' tandem of Ben Wallace and Antonio McDyess to a standoff.
But there were problems, such as Marquis Daniels' Shawn Bradley-like six fouls in 12 minutes. And the Mavs had no answers for Chauncey Billups or Rasheed Wallace, who like Stackhouse is a former North Carolina standout. He had 21 points and 10 boards, then threw Stackhouse some love.
"I wish he would have gotten it going against somebody else," Wallace said. "But Stack did his thing."
It just wasn't enough.
Dominguez doesn’t exactly step up in his final start …Sheesh. What a mess…
Dominguez was able to speak Tuesday. If not with his performance, he made his case verbally.
"I feel like I belong in the majors," an animated Dominguez said through an interpreter. "I think I can help this team. But it's not my decision. If they don't want me here, it's going to be very sad for me, but I'll still have a job to do in the minors."
Dominguez worked through the first two innings Tuesday in a brisk 25 pitches. In the third, though, he lost the strike zone.
He threw 12 balls in one 14-pitch stretch. Then Rangers left fielder Steve Murphy lost a ball in the sun. The next batter, Mark Kotsay, bounced a ball to first.
Dominguez was slow to get to the bag to take a throw from Phil Nevin. Showalter indicated it wasn't the first time this spring Dominguez has been late to the bag.
"That was my mistake," Dominguez said. "There were some little things that happened in the inning and I let it get away. I have to control myself more and stay focused."
Cowboys a bit interested in Joey Harrington? …
The Cowboys join Cincinnati, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Oakland and Seattle as teams with permission to speak with Harrington. He visited with the Dolphins on Tuesday and has a visit scheduled with the Bengals today.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his pro personnel staff has studied Harrington, but "I haven't talked to Bill [Parcells] about it at all."
Harrington, the third overall pick of the 2002 draft, has two years left on his contract, but the Lions have given him permission to seek a trade. He is scheduled to earn $4.45 million in base salary in both 2006 and '07. He's also is scheduled to receive a $4 million roster bonus June 15.
Haven't talked to Bill yet? Hmmm. Bill would eat Joey for lunch...
Amare hurt again …
Amaré Stoudemire did not want to talk Tuesday about how his comeback has been called off after three games.
And that said it all. He seems to be tired of reliving why his knees still ache. He seems to want to avoid rehashing how his past two games regressed into a shell of his former athletic presence. He does not want to give answers because perhaps he has none about what will happen now.
Stoudemire may not be back for the rest of this road trip or the rest of this season, a possibility that many suggested should have been the case all along. He will resume rehabilitation activity with the Suns holding out hope that he could recapture his athleticism with scrimmages and conditioning sessions rather than frustrating games like he had Saturday and Monday.
The Musers alerted me to this development Mavs had contacted Sprewell …
The Mavericks called about two weeks ago when they were dealing with a flurry of injuries.
"He said he would call back the next day. He never did. So we dropped the idea," Mavs owner Mark Cuban said via e-mail.
The Spurs also put in a call to Gist's office about a month ago, though nothing came of it.
"These teams recognize Latrell's value, and they've gone to their top players to ask them whether Spree would be a good fit," Gist said.
Sprewell made $14.6 million last season in the final year of a contract he signed after rehabilitating while with the New York Knicks. Sprewell led the Knicks to the 1999 NBA Finals after serving a 70-game suspension for his attack on former Golden State coach P.J. Carlesimo early in the 1997-98 season.
After turning down a three-year $21-million extension from the Timberwolves, explaining he had "a family to feed," Sprewell went unsigned last summer as an unrestricted free agent.
According to Gist, Sprewell made the mistake of waiting on the Los Angeles Lakers at a time when the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers all were expressing interest in signing him. But the Timberwolves and Lakers were unable to agree on a sign-and-trade deal that would satisfy both teams, and then other teams turned to other free agents. So by the time training camps started, Sprewell's only choice was to play for the veteran's minimum, which he feels is beneath him.
Homemade lightsaber duel …
Wow. This creeps me out, and yet fascinates me: With all of this myspace craze, someone has taken it upon themselves to put a site together featuring myspace people who die. It is mydeathspace.com …
Beyond the Boxscore puts the focus on the Rangers …
implosion World …
US College Hockey Online ….