Can we just pretend that Saturday didn’t happen for the Pistons? Facing a Rockets team that was very short-handed, they were ran off the court after a hot start and ultimately fell to the Rockets. For tanking purposes, it was a great loss, but for morale purposes it was demoralizing.
I bring that up because it is important as the Pistons face a likely very short-handed Mavericks team tonight who will be without Christian Wood and likely Luka Doncic. Doncic is a game time decision, but based on what I have seen I would anticipate him sitting this one out.
The last time the Pistons and Mavericks faced off it was an overtime thriller capped off by a Killian Hayes dagger in overtime in what was probably the best game of his career. The Mavericks went on a hot streak after the loss, but the month of January has not been kind to them. I still wouldn’t pick the Pistons to win this game if Doncic is in fact out, but they have a good shot.
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +8.5
As I mentioned above, the Mavericks will likely be without Luka, but I also have no idea whether he will actually play since he is a game time decision. He injured himself on Thursday against the Suns, so it has only been a few days.
If Luka does play, the Pistons have proven they can beat the Mavericks with Luka already this season.
The Mavericks limp into this game with a record of 5-9 in January after a great month of December. When these two teams faced off on December 1 and the Pistons came out on top, the Mavericks went on to go 11-5 in the month of December, and really start to turn their season around. Maybe the same thing will happen for the Mavericks in this game if the Pistons steal another one.
Spencer Dinwiddie has really picked up the scoring load since Luka got injured. He scored 36 against the Suns in the game Luka got hurt in, then followed that up with 35 points in a loss to the Jazz on Saturday. Dinwiddie, a former draftee of the Pistons, always seems to have extra motivation when facing the Pistons, so I would expect him to have a similar performance in this one. He pretty much has to if the Mavericks are going to win.
The Mavericks will also be without former Piston, Christian Wood. He is their 2nd leading scorer, so the Mavericks could be without their 1st and 2nd leading scorers. However, the Rockets were without their top 3 scorers on Saturday night and the Pistons still managed to lose that game and the Mavericks have better depth players than the Rockets do.
The last time these two teams faced off, Killian Hayes had the game of his life. He finished with 22 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds on 10-of-13 shooting, including the 3-point dagger in overtime. Hayes is now coming off the bench after Dwane Casey decided to change up the starting lineup to have a more veteran presence in Alec Burks with the starters, but he will still play a key role in this game. He hasn’t been as impactful off the bench offensively, but he is still the Pistons best backcourt defender and they are going to need him to slow down Dinwiddie if the Luka does not play.
I would also look out for Tim Hardaway Jr. This has not been a great season for him, but he had 25 the last time these teams squared off and always seems to have good games against the Pistons.
I am not sure what Pistons team we will get. The one that beat the Nets last week, or the one that lost to a short-handed Rockets team on Saturday. That will determine my confidence level in this game.
Dallas Mavericks (26-25)
Spencer Dinwiddie, Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell
Detroit Pistons (13-38)
Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks, Bojan Bogdanovic, Saddiq Bey, Jalen Duren
Question of the Day
Should the Pistons stick with Alec Burks as a starter the rest of the season or go back to Killian Hayes in the starting lineup?