The Detroit Pistons wound up on the tough losing end of a 142-124 final score against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. The matchup started with a close back-and-forth first half between both teams but finished with an ugly second half for the struggling Pistons.

Point guard Cade Cunningham finished one rebound shy of recording his third career triple-double with 33 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds. His star-studded performance was overshadowed by Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, who recorded an NBA-record sixth straight 30-point triple-double by finishing with 39 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Even though it was already a long shot, the Pistons were officially eliminated from postseason contention with the loss. Detroit moved down to 10-53 this regular season as many of their common mistakes were displayed against the Mavericks.

Pistons need consistency from Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren

Detroit Pistons guard Jaden Ivey (23) dribbles on Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green (8) in the second half at Little Caesars Arena.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons have briefly flashed how bright their future can be when their young foundation players perform. While Cunningham made his presence felt against Dallas on Saturday, guard Jaden Ivey and center Jalen Duren struggled to keep up for Detroit.

Ivey finished with 17 points but had a tough time with his efficiency throughout the game. He shot 7-of-21 from the field and 2-of-9 from three-point range. Ivey was also loose with the ball as he turned it over six times.

Duren was crippled by foul trouble in his 16 minutes of action against the Mavericks. The Pistons' starting center picked up three crucial fouls in the first half and a quick fourth in the third quarter. Duren's frustration spilled over when he got into a shoving match with forward P.J. Washington in the fourth quarter.

Cunningham, Ivey, and Duren are three of the most important players on the roster for the Pistons. They have shown how dangerous the team can be when all three are clicking. The inconsistencies are normal as young players, but Detroit's growth should ascend once they each develop their needed rhythm on offense and defense.

Simone Fontecchio should be a starter

One of the best bright spots for the Pistons this season was the acquisition of swingman Simone Fontecchio. He scored an efficient 27 points off the bench in 32 minutes. His value on both sides of the floor has posed the idea that he would be a better fit as a starter.

Detroit has struggled to produce consistent scoring from their frontcourt starters of Jalen Duren, Ausar Thompson, and Isaiah Stewart. The Mavericks were able to double Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey while paying little attention to the frontcourt defensively. Fontecchio is a dangerous enough scorer and floor spacer to take advantage of those double teams.

The Pistons' 6-7 forward is also an underrated defender and is savvy enough to create his own scorer. While Detroit shouldn't lean on him exclusively to play extended minutes, he could be a beneficial plug in the starting lineup to help the scoring load.

Detroit is missing Quentin Grimes

Shooting guard Quentin Grimes has only played four games since being traded to the Pistons from the New York Knicks. Grimes has missed significant time due to a lingering knee injury. His strongest value to the Pistons will be on the defensive end, and Detroit certainly missed him against the Mavericks.

Pistons rookie Ausar Thompson drew the defensive assignment of guarding Luka Doncic in the first half. While doing a solid job in the first quarter, Thompson unfortunately missed the second half due to illness. This left the Pistons relying on Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Simone Fontecchio to defend Luka Doncic and guard Kyrie Irving, who combined for 60 points.

Cunningham and Ivey have shown to be capable defenders when needed. Considering the responsibility they shoulder offensively, you do not want to risk them in foul trouble by defending the opponents' best scorers. The return of Grimes cannot come fast enough for the Pistons to anchor their perimeter defense with Thompson.