Date: Jan. 23, 2009
Time: 7 p.m.
Detroit record: 23-17
Dallas record: 24-18
Detroit probable starters:
Dallas probable starters:
Spread: Detroit -4
Outlook: Tonight’s matchup is between a pair of teams that have disappointed so far this season.
The Pistons are on pace to win 48 games, and the Mavericks on track to win 47. Both totals would be impressive for most teams.
But Detroit has won 50 games in seven straight seasons, and Dallas has reached 50 in the last eight.
There’s plenty of reason to think the Pistons will turn it around in the second half of the season. Allen Iverson is still getting acclimated, and Detroit is finally starting a larger lineup.
But the Pistons have the easiest strength of schedule in the NBA so far.
Detroit’s big lineup helped the Pistons to their biggest win of the season against Toronto. If they have similar success tonight against a pretty good Dallas team, the reasons to think a turnaround are in order will overshadow the scheduling concerns.
Antoine Wright probably won’t make Allen Iverson work too hard defensively. When Iverson has more energy for offense and can dribble agressively to his favorite spots on the court to shoot, he’s at his best. When he just dribbles aimlessly before taking jumpers, he’s pretty ineffective.
But the same could be said for Amir Johnson not giving Dirk Nowitzki much to handle on defense.
This game could come down to whether Iverson or Nowitzki is more productive on offense. And that might come down to how difficult a job checking Wright (and Jason Terry, his backup) and Johnson (and Antonio McDyess and Jason Maxiell) will be.
- The game is available for free on ESPN360. Unfortunately, it’s not available to those with Comcast or Time Warner.