The Dallas Mavericks (25-20) will host the Detroit Pistons (17-26) Sunday January 26th at 6:30 pm CT. The Mavs have currently lost two in a row and with the Houston Rockets up next, the Mavs need to get this game.
Control The Glass: The Pistons’ starting front court consists of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond. The three combine for over 26 rebounds. The Mavs must be able to keep the rebounding battle close, something they have struggled with all season.
Containment: The Pistons’ may not have a great record but they have the potential to big up some big numbers/games. Smith and Brandon Jennings are capable of going off for big scoring nights and Drummond and Monroe are capable of getting 15+ points and 15+ rebounds. Drummond had a 21-20 against the New Orleans Pelicans in Detroit’s last loss.
Find Shooting Touch: In the loss to the Brooklyn Nets, not a single starter for the Mavericks shot over 50%. Dirk Nowitzki and Jose Calderon each shot 5-15. With the defense still a mess, the Mavericks can’t afford an off night.
Win Bench Battle: The Pistons’ top bench players are Rodney Stuckey (14.3 pts), Kyle Singler (8.3), and Will Bynum (8.1). Devin Harris, Vince Carter, Brandan Wright and co. must be able to to give the Mavs an edge in the bench battle.
Brandan Jennings: The Mavericks have been vulnerable to quick point guards. Jennings has had some big assist and scoring nights for the Pistons. The Mavericks must find a way to slow him down. Outside of maybe Smith, Jennings is the Pistons only true playmaking and scoring threat.
Limit Turnovers: The Pistons can run and want to run. They try to block shots and get in the passing lanes. If the Mavs don’t attack the basket with authority, they’ll see plenty of their shots getting blocked and turned into layups. Just as it’s important to avoid getting shots blocked, the Mavs must be careful with handing the Pistons the ball. The Pistons are 5th in the league with 8.8 steals a game. The Mavs can count on getting great shots if they take care of the ball. Detroit allows the second highest fg% (46.8%) to opposing teams.
Keep Detroit Outside: I’m not saying leave them open for 3′s but you’re better off having them shoot the 3 ball than getting inside. Detroit is the worst 3-pt shooting team in the league. Also by keeping the Pistons on the perimeter it may limit Mavs fouls. The Pistons shoot the 5th most free throws in the league.
Pull The Bigs Out: With Dirk on the floor, the Pistons will either have Drummond or Monroe guarding the perimeter. The Mavs must either hit shots to force the bigs to play out. Driving lanes and easy opportunities will be created by pulling the bigs out.