DALLAS (AP) — Hoping to shake off a week’s worth of bad games, O.J. Mayo took a pass in transition and headed straight for the rim.
The resulting three-point play jolted the guard out of a shooting slump late in the first half, and he dominated the third quarter on his way to 27 points, helping Dallas celebrate Derek Fisher’s Mavericks debut with a 92-77 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night.
Mayo’s transition bucket got the Mavs’ offense running again, and he fed off the pace by hitting four 3-pointers while scoring 16 points during a 17-4 run that stretched into a 25-6 surge and erased a nine-point Detroit lead in the third quarter.
“I passed up some open shots in the second quarter, came into the locker room, said, ‘Just go out there and play your game,'” said Mayo, who was 10 of 21 overall and 6 of 9 from long distance. “So I just went out there, started shooting and tried to be aggressive.”
Brandon Knight led Detroit with 20 points, including 18 in the first half. But the Pistons still fell to 1-10 on the road.
Mayo, who shot 32 percent and made just one of 10 from 3-point range the previous three games, scored the first 11 Dallas points in the third quarter, including a trio of 3s punctuated by a timeout as disgusted Detroit coach Lawrence Frank stomped onto the court well before the whistle even blew.
The Mayo surge started on defense for Dallas, which held the Pistons to 20 percent shooting while outscoring them 25-11 in the third quarter.
“Well, guys, did you see the type of shots we were getting?” Frank said. “We missed 29 shots within two feet of the basket. So, the problem is, we’ve got the make those shots. Then the next thing is we’ve got to get back.”
Fisher got the start a day after the 16-year veteran’s first practice with the Mavs. His presence seemed to spark Darren Collison, the struggling young point guard he was brought in to help. Collison had eight assists and no turnovers.
“He enhances our situation a lot of different ways,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “He gives us more options, and his experience, you just can’t substitute what that means.”
Fisher’s stat line was modest — two points on 1-of-8 shooting and three assists — in his first action since helping Oklahoma City reach the NBA Finals last year. But Collison looked much better. He hit a 3-pointer when the Mavericks were struggling in the first half, and assisted on dunks by Bernard James and Shawn Marion in the second half.
Collison, who missed a game with a sprained finger, said he wasn’t thrilled to be coming off the bench after starting the first 14 games but would “do what I can for the team.”
“The biggest stat is that we won the game and that’s all I’m happy about,” Collison said.
Once Mayo gave the Mavericks the lead, Vince Carter and Elton Brand made sure they held onto it. Carter hit four 3-pointers — three after halftime — for all 12 of his points, while Brand matched his season highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Brand had eight points in the fourth quarter, when Dallas had another 13-0 run to put the game away.
Knight scored five more points than his average just in the first half. He hit a 3-pointer that started a 9-0 run for a 38-30 Detroit lead midway through the second quarter. But he missed all six of his shots in the second half, when the Pistons shot 28 percent.
Center Greg Monroe was 4 of 17 from the field, and Dallas blocked nine shots — four by Brand and three from Chris Kaman.
“I’m not a jump shooter, so it feels even worse when shots are not falling because I know all of them are relatively close to the basket,” Monroe said. “There’s no excuse for that. I have to finish.”
Kaman led the Mavericks with 10 points in the first half despite going to the bench with 5:54 left in the second after his third foul.
NOTES: The Mavericks play six of their next seven on the road. … Carlisle started his head coaching career with the Pistons and was there for two seasons. He was NBA Coach of the Year the first season (2001-02) and led Detroit to the Eastern Conference finals in 2003. … Mayo is the only Dallas player to start every game. A season ago, he was a reserve for all 66 games with Memphis. … Monroe and Jason Maxiell combined for 27 rebounds for Detroit.