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Pistons host Mavericks

Essentials

  • Teams: Dallas Mavericks (33-23) at Detroit Pistons (23-32)
  • Date: February 22, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

Fresh off a home victory against the Atlanta Hawks, the Detroit Pistons will host the Dallas Mavericks tonight.

Oddly enough, the Pistons are trying to emulate the Mavericks, but have not yet found their exact recipe. Dallas made a few acquisitions in the past offseason to retool and compete for a postseason spot.

The Pistons borrowed the same idea, but their execution was a bit different. Indeed, general manager Joe Dumars signed Josh Smith to a big four-year contract (worth $13.5 million annually) and landed Brandon Jennings with a three-season deal.

Dallas went the same route but offered less money. Mavs management secured Monta Ellis to a three-year deal while Jose Calderon signed for four years per Sham Sports.

The one big difference between the franchises: The Mavericks have a superstar, while the Pistons do not. Dallas brought guys in to play alongside an aging and yet still effective Dirk Nowitzki that seems to have barely lost a step.

Nowitzki is averaging 24.3 points per 36 minutes, and is enjoying the second-best shooting season of his career. The German is converting 49.5 percent of his field goals, 41.7 percent of his treys and a league-leading 91.3 percent from the charity stripe.

Nowitzki’s proficiency form the field allows the Dallas coaching staff to put shooters and ball-handlers around him, and pick teams apart. The Mavericks have the fourth-best offense in the league precisely because they shoot the ball extremely well.

It will be interesting to see how Detroit handles the combination of interior and perimeter punch the Mavs offer given how porous their defense has been in recent years.

On the flip side, the Pistons are still looking for him. The guy that was supposed to put Detroit over the top and turn them into playoff contenders has not yet arrived.

At first, it could have been Greg Monroe. But between trade talks and ongoing discussions debating whether or not he is a max-contract player, conventional wisdom suggests he’s not that guy.

Then, there is Andre Drummond. He is clearly the franchise cornerstone, but Drummond is far too young and raw at this point in his career to carry the team on his back. That leaves newcomers Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.

Both have flashed potential and production on numerous occasions, and yet, their previous teams barely seemed phased by their departures. Put it all together, and we have a team whose best players range from average to good.

Some nights they are great, but most of the time they sit on the fence separating the land of decent and aight. To be fair, a unit comprised of such players can be successful (most recent example is the 2012-13 Denver Nuggets). But it takes the right system and cast of players to accomplish it all.

Dallas is doing just that, albeit with the help of a Hall of Fame forward. The Pistons must simply find their lane, and perhaps tonight will be a step in that direction.

Read about the Mavs

Mavs Outsider.

20 Comments

  • Feb 22, 20146:53 pm
    by Parsons

    Reply

    “Peter Vecsey: Source reveals Cheeks was doomed when Josh went to Dumars & wanted Mo fired & Billups went with him.”

    Ummm… Why is it that every year turns into a soap opra? The Spurs don’t have this problem. Atlanta doesn’t anymore and they have the same record as us. Oh wait Atlanta got rid of their dysfunction in the offseason. I’m starting to think Dumars is like a teenage girl who just likes drama. Maybe in the offseason we should dump our disfunctional players, sign players who don’t like to cause problems, oh and maybe even a coach who maybe actually knows about basketball and can keep his job for more than 50 games. Just a thought.

  • Feb 22, 20147:52 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever hated and loved the way a player plays more than Josh Smith. The things that guy can do on the basketball court are unbelievable and forgetable at the same time. Frustrating is the best way to describe him.

  • Feb 22, 20148:02 pm
    by troy

    Reply

    Agreed gmehl. I like what I’m seeing from Monroe so far this game. Playing aggressive on both ends

  • Feb 22, 20148:22 pm
    by Windy

    Reply

    Smith kinda has that Sheed type factor where he has all the talent but doesn’t do some of the down low type scoring you want, relies on shooting jumps shots when you know he could dominate down low with their skill set…Sheed could hit shots from the outside but you always wanted him to bang in the post…Its just hard to imagine it all clicking for Smith at this point in his career, one can only hope…

  • Feb 22, 20148:32 pm
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    Pretty cool how Smith just took three possessions off because he was arguing about a kicked ball.  
    Here’s an idea…dive on the ground to keep that possession regardless of a whistle.  
     
    Terrible. 

  • Feb 22, 20148:40 pm
    by Kevin

    Reply

    Pistons getting destroyed on the glass, oddly enough. Dallas rebounding 40% of their misses.  Drummond’s third foul was huge.  Should be able to make a run if they can keep him in and tighten up the perimeter defense.  Either lazy play or poor scouting giving up so many open looks to Carter, Calderon and Ellington.  Not to mention two open threes that Nowitzki got but missed.

  • Feb 22, 20148:47 pm
    by Leon J.

    Reply

    Jennings defense is frustrating. Not sure what his deal is. Seems like he doesn’t want to even be playing. 

  • Feb 22, 20148:56 pm
    by Kevin

    Reply

    Jennings can’t play another minute tonight.  Just a terrible effort.

  • Feb 22, 20149:07 pm
    by Leon J.

    Reply

    Here comes J. Smoothless. WTH is he doing?

  • Feb 22, 20149:16 pm
    by Mister D

    Reply

    at the moment stooge is 14-17.  i’d bet he’s never been 14-17

  • Feb 22, 20149:49 pm
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    3 things:
    Do they have the curtains out in the upper bowl? 
    The crowd noise on TV seems almost like they are using a laugh trak or something.  
    The camera shots aren’t showing much of the crowd and what they are showing looks like they let people down to fill the lower bowl.  
     
    Seriously looks like a Shock game.  
     

  • Feb 22, 20149:54 pm
    by Hook Shot

    Reply

    I think Jennings is in a funk from being sat last night. 
    Bynum shows his his value when he is not trying to play hero ball. He actually has looked like a heady point guard over the past 2 games. 

  • Feb 22, 201410:10 pm
    by Leon J.

    Reply

    We can’t do anything right. Can’t win right can’t lose right. We’re going to lose are draft pick at this pace just lose already’nn

    • Feb 22, 201411:13 pm
      by Ken

      Reply

      Cheer up. We’re going to be only 3.5 games out of the 5th pick after tonight. 
       
      BOS/SAC are both 4 games up on us in the 4/5 spots, and are playing each other right now (SAC is winning) but regardless of who wins, one of them will gain a win and so we’ll only be 3.5 out of 5th by the end of the night.
       
      Then this week we play the Warriors, Spurs, and Houston our next 3. Almost guaranteed to be all losses. Then we play the Knicks in a epic tank showdown, loser likely takes the others place in the lotto standings. So its possible we could be in firm possession of 7th-8th pick and be closing in on 5th by the end of next week.
       
       

      • Feb 22, 201411:49 pm
        by Rodman4Life

        Reply

        Hahahahahaha, thanks Ken.  ”Epic tank showdown” I Love it!

        • Feb 23, 201412:05 am
          by Ken

          Reply

          Just our luck though we’ll get the 4th pick and end up forced into drafting PF Julius Randle as the BPA and come back next year with this starting this lineup-
          Jennings
          Smith
          Randle
          Monroe
          Drummond
           
          LOL

          • Feb 23, 20141:07 am
            by gmehl

            Thanks Ken you made me a little happier after hearing that breakdown. I need something from this season to keep me going :-)

  • Feb 22, 201410:31 pm
    by James

    Reply

    If Vescey’s article is truthful, not only should that be the nail in Dumars coffin, it should also have his burial site prepared and paid for. Firing Cheeks should have only been from a frustrated GM or Owner as opposed to a fucking street ball playing 10 year veteran who has not and will not EVER be a star in a league that’s driven by stars. And Billups was dumb enough to go along for the ride and have his name and credibility tarnished? He just screwed himself from joining the Pistons after his playing career ends.

  • Feb 23, 20141:06 am
    by Adam

    Reply

    Maybe there is more to it who knows

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