Dallas Mavericks at Detroit Pistons Preview
The Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons will face off in Mexico City at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City on Thursday night. The two teams will be part of the four teams in action in Mexico during this season’s Mexico City Games. The game will be the 29th game played in Mexico since 1992, the most NBA games held in any country not named the United States or Canada. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN Deportes, Televisa and NBA League Pass in Mexico.
This will be the first time both teams play one another. The Pistons have been a middling team; they sit in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference, have the ninth-best offense in the league, and the 17th best defense in the league. Detroit is hoping that Blake Griffin–who missed the start of the season with knee and hamstring issues–will start to round out into shape. Griffin is averaging a solid 18.2 points per game, but he’s only shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 31 percent on 3s. Griffin needs to be more efficient to better complement Andre Drummond, who’s having an all-time rebounding season.
The Mavericks have been better than most expected and a lot of that lies on the shoulders of their second-year phenom Luka Doncic. The sophomore is playing at an MVP level and has a cast of mostly complementary pieces clicking on all cylinders as they sit in the no. 3 spot in the West.
Time: 7 PM ET
Arena: Arena Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Channel: FSD, FSSW-DAL
Mavericks: Delon Wright (O)
Pistons: Reggie Jackson (O), Khyri Thomas (O)
Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup
The Mavericks dropped their previous game in disappointing fashion to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. The 110-106 loss was only their seventh of the season but it hurt knowing they are the better team.
Doncic had an opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds but his turnaround jumper clanged off the front of the rim and the Kings rebounded and called a timeout. Sacramento then scored on a quick layup out of the timeout to seal the victory. Dallas never led while the Kings’ biggest lead ballooned to as much as 24.
The Mavericks struggled defensively in the first half of the game and turned things around in the second half, but the switch in intensity ultimately didn’t matter.
“We were very disappointed at our defense in the first half, and the second half was certainly way better,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “But, gotta play the whole game. A disappointing loss.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way in the scoring column for the Mavs, he scored 29 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field, nine of which were 3-pointers. Doncic followed right behind with 27 points in 35 minutes of action.
It’s a tough loss for Dallas but it doesn’t change the fact that this team has proven they are one of the more legitimate teams in the entire NBA. First, they have the no. 1 offense in the league (116.9) spearheaded by Doncic and his elite work with the ball in his hands. Second, they have a net rating of plus-12.7, which is third behind only the two best teams in the league record-wise–the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. In addition, they are one of the best rebounding teams in the league (47.7 per game).
I wouldn’t call them a contender quite yet, Doncic is going to need more help. Kristaps Porzingis has basically become a stationary 3-point shooter and do you want to guess who on Dallas is attempting the third-most field goals per game? It’s Hardaway Jr., yep that’s who. In short, the Mavs need should get Luka more help or their playoff ceiling is going to stay low.
Detroit Pistons Starting Lineup
Detroit sent the fans of the New Orleans Pelicans home dejected and disappointed. How? Derrick Rose is how. The 2011 league MVP hit a jumper over Jrue Holiday–an elite defender–with 0.3 seconds left to lift the Pistons to a 105-103 win on Monday night.
“I know overall where I’m at as a player and as a person, and I believe in myself,” Rose said. “That’s where it all starts–with me believing in myself–and going to an organization and playing for a team that believes in me, too. I believe this is the start.”
Rose scored 17 of his team-leading 21 points in the final frame to go along with two rebounds and seven assists. Langston Galloway came off the bench and providing a spark. He scored 16 points in only 20 minutes on 4-for-8 from the 3-point line.
The Pistons are hoping they can start meshing soon, because the combination of Drummond, Griffin, Rose, and the much-improved Luke Kennard should be more than enough to make the playoffs. However, that’s the problem, individually the Pistons have some talented guys, but how they fit together seems to be the problem.
Detroit can’t waste a season like this: Drummond’s historical rebounding numbers and Rose playing like one of the best sixth men in the league. I think the success of this team will ultimately come down to Griffin’s play. Once he’s fully acclimated himself into this iteration of the Pistons I expect a leap in the standings. That is to stay, a leap to the seventh or maybe sixth spot.
Key Player Matchups
Bruce Brown vs. Luca Doncic
This highlighted matchup is more about the defensive effort we’re going to see from Bruce Brown on Doncic. Brown is a very solid defensive player, with quick feet and good anticipation. However, I don’t think he has the strength or length to bother Doncic, so I bet we see some Tony Snell on Luka tonight. But let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because Luka is untouchable right now. He’s playing with astronomical confidence and this game will serve as another reel to be added to the Luka Tapes.
Blake Griffin vs. Kristaps Porzingis
Two big men that have fallen from where they once were. First, Griffin, who was once a high flying detonator ready to punch a dunk on one..two..maybe three defenders. Now, Griffin does a lot of his work shooting jumpers and bullying his way in close for solid under the rim post moves. No shame in that, but it’s still kind of a shame. On the other side, there’s Porzingis. He’s been an awkward fit next to Luka, especially when coach Carlisle was running offensive sets focused on KP. Now everything runs through Luka and Porzingis is asked to simply spread the floor.
Doncic is nearly averaging a triple-double–he’s up to 30.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game–so you know he’s an elite fantasy option. He’s not cheap, but well worth the pickup; Luka is available for a salary of $11.8k on FanDuel with fantasy projections for 45.7.
The Pistons have one of the better fantasy players this season manning the center position for them. Drummond has been a rebounding beast, making him one of the more valuable fantasy players in the league. He’s going for a salary of $10.6k with projections for 42.4.
Bet on Matchup
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