Game Preview: Pistons Attempt to Rebound Against Dallas
The Detroit Pistons(13-13) travel to Dallas to take on the Dallas Mavericks(6-18) tonight at the American Airlines Center. The game begins at 8:30 pm EST. This is Dallas’ sixth home game in their last seven contests.
Dallas is coming into this game off of what many are saying was their best performance of the season. The took out the Denver Nuggets 112-92 in a solid and inspiring performance Monday night. They continue to play without Dirk Nowitzki, JJ Barea, and Andrew Bogut and were able to pick up a necessary win against Denver without them.
Wesley Matthews is heating up for the Mavericks. In his last 15 games, he is averaging 18.9 points while shooting a flaming 47.3% from the three-point line. Expect Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who will return to the Pistons lineup tonight after missing Detroit’s last game against the Philadelphia 76ers, to draw the assignment of defending Matthews. He has also scored 25 or more points in five of the Mavericks last eight games.
Rookie Dorian Finney-Smith also played well for Dallas. Once considered just a training camp invite, Finney-Smith has found his role quickly. He is starting in the place of the injured Nowitzki and delivering. In Dallas’ game against Denver, he posted 13 points and nine rebounds. He, like Detroit’s Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris, is a combo forward. The forward matchup will be interesting to watch tonight, with Harrison Barnes now with Dallas. Expect the Pistons to attack Finney-Smith early with Tobias Harris.
Harris has been heating up for the Pistons as of late. Going back to November, Harris has scored in double figures in ten of his last eleven games. He scored eight points against the Sixers on Sunday, on a night that only Marcus Morris could really seem to get it going. Morris had 28 points against the Sixers.
Stanley Johnson, whose name has spurted up in recent trade rumors, played well against Philly. He scored six points, had five steals, dished out four assists, and grabbed two rebounds. Stan Van Gundy should keep going to Johnson and see if he can turn his season around.
The Pistons will likely have a good opportunity tonight to test out the Reggie Jackson/Ish Smith lineup that they experimented with on Sunday. Dallas is known for using two and at times three point guards at once in a lineup.
As previously noted, Dirk Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut, and JJ Barea are out for Dallas. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back, Reggie Bullock is the only player inactive for the Pistons.
Detroit did send rookies Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinje down to the NBA D-League, They well play with the Grand Rapids Drive in their game tonight against the Windy City Bulls.
Probable Starting Lineups:
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Marcus Morris
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Andre Drummond
PG: Deron Williams
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
C: Salah Mejri
Featured image: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports