GAME TIME: 7:00 PM ET
Dallas: 24-18 (11-11 road)
Margin: +0.6 ppg (-6.3 last 25%)
Last 10: 4-6
Pistons: 24-17 (13-7 home)
Margin: +0.6 ppg (-0.3 last 25%)
Last 10: 4-6
Poor Dallas. Of the three teams who traded for aging celebrities in the past year, the Mavericks have the least hope. The Suns somehow managed to rekindle the Shaq of old, while the Pistons can look forward to oodles of cap room. The Mavs are stuck with a poor man's Rajon Rondo as they watch Devin Harris morph into a superstar.
Actually, lack of depth has been the biggest problem in little D. With Josh Howard out of the lineup for 17 games, the Mavericks were forced to start lowlights like Devean George and Antoine Wright. Other than Brandon Bass (who has been a disappointment in his own right), the team has no bench to speak of, as Jason Terry functions essentially as a starter.
Dallas is a perimeter oriented team that shoots a terrible 33.6% from the three point stripe. Considering this team features Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, AND that Jason Kidd is having a career year from the three point stripe, that's pretty unbelievable. Owner Mark Cuban has shown a willingness to spend, but of what good is a deep wallet, when Devean George is the object of your financiel affections?
Coach Rick Carlisle's penchant for rejuvenating defenses had kept this team competitive, but that end of the court has fallen apart rather spectacularly of late, as evinced by a 133-99 drubbing at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks (!?) earlier this week.
One has to think this is the last we'll see of Jerry Stackhouse, considering the personnel that has moved ahead of him in the rotation.
Keys for Detroit:
Eat Babies: Given Dallas' lack of post scoring, this should be a great opportunity for Maxiell to follow up on his sensational fourth quarter performance against Toronto.
Watch Terry: With Jason Kidd and Nowitzki floating on the perimeter, Jason Terry is often overlooked. He's been the team's second most productive player, and is easily capable of putting up 30 on any given night.
Avoid Cheap Fouls: This is another team that you don't want to put on the foul line. Dallas has three players who shoot 86% or better.
Question of the game:
How good are the Pistons? With bizarro lineup issues out of the way, the Pistons will have a chance to see where they are in time for the trade deadline against the top half of the league.