Looking to break their 3 game skid, after a tough loss at the hands of the Knicks, the Pistons will take on the Dallas Mavericks in The Palace Friday night. The first time these two teams played each other was (what seems like years ago) way back on December 1st, when the Mavericks took the win 92-77, behind a three point barrage from O.J. Mayo. Surely, Greg Monroe shooting 4-17 didn’t help either.
Their records don’t show it, but these two teams are extremely different than they were in early December. Nowitzki’s back, Derek Fisher is now with the Thunder, Andre Drummond’s injured, Jose Calderon is a Piston — just to name a few differences in the rosters.
This is one of those few games that the Pistons have a chance of winning, as the Mavericks have really struggled on the road this year. Dallas is coming off playing a home-and-away against the Rockets. They were embarrassed in Houston, giving up 136 points in regulation, but came back 3 days later and put up a much better effort in a 112-108 win.
Though they have a shot in this game, the Pistons still could have problems. O.J. Mayo’s having his best season, and Detroit really doesn’t have the perimeter defenders to guard him. It certainly doesn’t help that Mayo’s shooting 50% from the field and 64% from behind the arc in his last 5 games — per NBA.com — either. It’s still unknown if Greg Monroe is going to play, although according to this Vincent Goodwill article, Monroe feels pretty confident he’ll be able to go. If not it could be tough sledding for the Pistons, who would have to depend on either Jason Maxiell or Slava Kravtsov to match-up with Dirk Nowitzki.
I’d like to see Detroit try to take advantage of Dallas’s big men in the pick-and-roll game. Dirk and Kaman lack food speed, so it’ll be interesting to see if Calderon can take advantage of that. Though it isn’t always a great tool to use for defensive matters, according to Synergy, Kaman is giving up 1.19 points per possession to the roll man these season. While Kaman probably isn’t that bad of a defender, it still shows that he’s lacking on that side of the ball.
The Pistons definitely have a chance to win this game, but you never know with them. But, then again, in the situation Detroit’s in, losing isn’t really a bad thing.