Smith Jr. Makes his Return as the Pistons Come to Town
By Michael Mulford
Coming off two tough losses, the Mavs look to redeem themselves against Detroit as DSJ makes his return.
Following two heartbreaking losses to the Spurs and Suns, the Dallas Mavericks will look to turn things around as the Detroit Pistons enter the AAC. Turning things around might come a little easier with rookie, Dennis Smith Jr., back on the court tonight.
Confirmed by Coach Carlisle this morning, DSJ will return tonight against the Pistons. The rookie may be on a minute restriction coming off his six game absence.
Along with the return of DSJ, the Mavs called up guard Kyle Collinsworth from the Texas Legends. Collinsworth, a 6-foot-6 versatile guard, signed a two-way contract on Tuesday with Dallas following scoring a season-high 24 points in his last game on Saturday with the Legends.
Tonight, the Mavs will go toe-to-toe against a Pistons team on a three-game winning streak after starting the month of December on a seven-game losing streak.
With guard Avery Bradley out tonight with a groin injury, the Mavericks guards should be able to attack Detroit’s perimeter defenders with success. Look for rookie Luke Kennard to start in place of Bradley.
The big test for the Mavericks tonight will be the matching up with Tobias Harris and Andre Drummond. Harris, who is having the best season of his seven-year career, is the Pistons leading scorer averaging 17.8 points per game and has a similar game to Harrison Barnes.
When it comes to Drummond, he has taken a step forward this season in his game. While averaging 13.9 points and 14.9 rebounds, the Pistons big man has also been an impressive passer this season, averaging 3.8 assists. Safe to say Maxi Kleber and Salah Mejri will have their hands full on the board tonight.
For the Mavs to come away with a win tonight, the guards and wings for Dallas must be aggressive. Stated previously, with Avery Bradley out of the lineup and Dennis on a possible minute restriction, Yogi and J.J. will need to continue their productive play off the bench while Wes will need to let those arrows fly.
One prediction for tonight: A Mejri-Drummond scuffle will take place. If there was an All-Star team for irritants, Salah would be a starter. Look for him to get under Drummond’s skin tonight.
Next: Dallas Mavericks Getting an Improved Kyle Collinsworth
Tip-off is at 7:30pm at the AAC. Go Mavs!