- Teams: Detroit Pistons (17-26) at Dallas Mavericks (25-20)
- Date: January 26, 2014
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
Expectations ultimately end up dictating what we consider successful. The Dallas Mavericks came into this season expecting to be somewhere between good and great, and they are right on track.
After missing the playoffs last season, the Mavs project to make the postseason this year. The additions of Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis have given Dallas some scoring and playmaking punch.
And yet, the offense feels a bit underwhelming. Rick Carlisle’s group is fairly old and as a result, the Mavs are a half-court team. They run most of their sets through Dirk Nowitzki, and space the floor with a combination of shooters and ball-handlers.
It allows the Mavericks to consistently get Nowitzki some looks from the top of the floor and in the low post. When defenses decide to converge on the German, he is a willing passer that will set up the play that leads to the score (the hockey assist).
The way the offense is designed, one would be tempted to think it’s borderline unstoppable. Indeed, when one-on-one players are afforded with single coverage, it typically gives them an advantage where scoring is concerned.
Think of the Portland Trail Blazers for instance, LaMarcus Aldridge does wonders for that team because his comrades get the opportunity to go at one defender.
The Mavericks have no such luck. They are mostly a matchup-oriented team. Thus, they will thrive against teams with multiple poor defenders or bad discipline. However, against stout defensive units, the recipe produces incredibly mixed results.
Dallas is an average paint scoring team per Team Rankings, which means they rely on a lot of jump shots to get their offense going. Great teams are fine with giving up those types of field goals, but they also do a pretty stellar job of contesting them.
Hence, the Mavs can potentially have issues there. To be fair, that will not be the case tonight against the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit has struggled with rotations and pick-and-roll coverage all season. Dallas is going to force them to defend those sets all night. If the Pistons are not up to the task, the Mavericks are going to get a multitude of open looks.
Therefore, the Mavs may very well end up looking unstoppable tonight. In no way, shape or form does this mean that Detroit is doomed though.
Dallas is not a great defensive squad by any stretch of the imagination. What’s more, they love going to the zone every now and then. The Pistons do not have great long-distance shooters, but they are an excellent offensive rebounding team. Zone defenses make it difficult to find players to block out on the boards, and Detroit will likely profit from that.