Mavericks Look To Make Up Ground In Detroit

Jan 26, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks small forward Shawn Marion (0) dribbles as Detroit Pistons small forward Kyle Singler (25) defends during the game at American Airlines Center. Dallas won 116-106. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS MAVERICKS (33-23) at DETROIT PISTONS (23-32) Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FSSW

Coming off a 124-112 win in Philadelphia to start their 3-game road trip, the Mavs play the second game of a back-to-back when they visit the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 22 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Mich. Game will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest with Mark Followill and Derek Harper.

The Mavericks shot 62.3 percent against the Sixers, the third highest mark by any team in the NBA this season. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting with seven rebounds and four assists. Shawn Marion added 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting and another seven boards.

Dallas cruised to a 41-23 lead after the first quarter, but the Sixers stormed back to cut it to a 7-point halftime deficit. The Mavericks went up as much as 20 in the final quarter to get their first win on a relatively easy road trip.

The Mavs face off with the Pistons before finishing up in New York on Feb. 24.

Dallas has a chance to move to a season-best 11 games above .500 with a win over Detroit.

Right In The Mix Of Things: Dallas and Detroit can make up ground in the playoff race with a win. The Mavericks sit a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th and final spot in the West while the Pistons are 2.5 games back of the Atlanta Hawks for the final spot in the East after handing the Hawks their 8th-straight loss, 115-107 on Feb. 21. The Mavericks can make up ground if they pull out a win, along with a loss by the Golden State Warriors, who host Jason Kidd and the Brooklyn Nets. The Mavs, Warriors and Phoenix Suns all have 33 wins, but the Suns sit in the 6th spot with 21 losses while the Warriors have 22 losses.

Key Players: There is no question that the Detroit Pistons are a big team. They have one of the biggest, if not thee biggest, front courts in the NBA with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. At 6-foot-8, Kyle Singler is projected to run the starting two-guard. No doubt, the key player for the Mavericks is Nowitzki. Dirk is on the verge of his second 50-40-90 campaign, shooting 49 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, and 91 percent from the charity strip. Dirk has eclipsed 20 points or more in nine of his past 11 games. Drummond is the key for Detroit. The second-year big man is having one of the best seasons in the league averaging 13.3 points and 13 rebounds, third in the NBA, per game. His 61 percent shooting ranks second in the league. Drummond recorded his 41st double-double of the season, second behind Kevin Love, with 20 points and 11 boards versus the Hawks.

Same Face Different Place: Both teams have their share of new faces. Jose Calderon returns to Detroit for the first time since coming over in the offseason. Calderon played 28 games in Detroit after being traded from Toronto last season. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings are both in their first year with their new teams, as both come over from Milwaukee. Ellis and Jennings were teammates for nearly a season and a half, leading the Bucks to the 8th seed in the East in last season’s playoffs. Other new faces in different places include Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair and Wayne Ellington on Dallas, and Smith with Detroit.

Last Meeting: Nowitzki scored 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including three treys, and Devin Harris scored a season-high 14 points for the second straight game in 23 minutes as the Mavericks defeated the Pistons 116-106 at home on Jan. 26. Calderon scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting in his first game versus his former team, and the Mavs withstood 20-plus points from three different Pistons (Brandon Jennings, Monroe, Smith). Dallas shot 58 percent as a team and held Detroit to 47 percent.

Topics: Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis

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