Opponent Scouting: Dallas Mavericks. (21-26)
Tonight at 8:30pm EST the Pistons will be on the road to take on the Dallas Mavericks. The Pistons are on one day of rest after beating the Pelicans while the Mavericks are on two days of rest after beating the Clippers.
The Mavericks are competitive but not all that good, which is to say they are pretty much like the Pistons. They come into the game with the 19th offense and 13th defense in the NBA.
Led by rookie sensation Luka Doncic, the young man is averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game on pretty good efficiency. He still has many of the rookie hiccups you expect, but he’s excellent. Harrison Barnes is still chugging along, he’s a good shooter, tough defender, and can still go get his own bucket even if he’s asked to do that less now. DeAndre Jordan is here, he is pretty much the same as always except that he’s apparently been such a rebound whore that it’s caused friction with some of his teammates and he hasn’t tried as hard on defense. (Once again, this is based on some reports from people around the team)
Dennis Smith Jr returned to playing in their last game. He’s super athletic and can create space for his own shot, also makes some really nice defensive plays at times. Wesley Matthews can still shoot and is a tough defender. Dirk lives on, may he never die. Dorian Finney-Smith is a fun wing who has a great motor and does a lot of things well, Devin Harris is kind of here. Maxi Kleber is a big german guy. Dwight Powell can jump high.
This team is well coached and have some guys who can play. They are still lacking a bit in areas but are competitive.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. Playing: Please play. The Pistons rebounded pretty poorly over the last 3 games and it was against some really bad rebounding teams. The Mavericks are actually a good rebounding team and Jordan would probably slaughter Zaza.
Blake Griffin vs. Harrison Barnes: Barnes plays the 4 pretty much exclusively these days. Griffin has an obvious size advantage but Barnes is tough and smart on defense, on top of that Barnes is a good enough offensive player himself that Griffin will be tested on the other end.
Pistons vs. Luka: I guess Bullock will spend most of the game on him? I’d suggest Stanley Johnson gets more minutes but it seems like that ship has sailed. It will probably be a problem.
Luke vs. Shooting it: Don’t care if he misses. Get up 10 shots young fella.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Blake Griffin is slaughtering all opposition.
The Pistons somehow stop Luka.
Run for the hills if:
“Luka with another stepback 3!”
Barnes is getting lots of open 3s because Blake doesn’t really do closeouts so good.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Yeah still too sad for predictions right now.