Detroit Pistons (17-13) at Dallas Mavericks (8-23)
The Detroit Pistons will travel to Dallas to play a banged up and struggling Mavericks team tonight. The Pistons have won three straight games after starting December out losers of seven in a row.
The Mavericks have had a brutal stretch of schedule that has seen them matched up against Minnesota, San Antonio twice, Golden State, and Boston over their last seven games. They have lost six out of those seven games.
The Mavericks will be slight -1-point home favorites tonight. The game total over-under is set at 197 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 PM PST from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
To say the Dallas Mavericks are struggling this season would be an understatement. The Mavs eight wins on the season are the second-fewest number of wins in the NBA. They have been losing games in bunches and aren’t much better at home as they are on the road, with a 6-11 record in Dallas.
Dirk Nowitzki is a shell of his former self, and the former MVP is averaging just eleven points and five boards a game. He hasn’t lost that sweet shooting touch though as he is still shooting 43% from beyond the arc and over 90% from the charity stripe. It feels like it might be time for the legendary German to finally hang them up after this season. A bit of a sad ending to a spectacular career.
The one bright spot this season for the Mavericks has been the play of rookie sensation Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavs selected Smith in the first round, with the ninth overall pick out of NC State and he has impressed already this season. In just 28 minutes a game this year, the rookie is averaging fourteen points and four rebounds a game.
The one downside? He is banged up and not expected to play in tonight’s game. He may end up making an appearance at some point, but you can expect him to be limited at best.
The Detroit Pistons are stuck in the worst kind of NBA purgatory. They aren’t good enough to win a championship, but they aren’t bad enough to get a high lottery pick. They will most likely end up making the playoffs this year with no real chance to win more than a couple of games.
The Pistons have been doing a light rebuild for several seasons now, and you have to wonder, at what point will they just blow it all up and start over again?
Tobias Harris has been solid, as has Avery Bradley, but they just don’t have a good enough young core to build around for the future. Rookie Luke Kennard appears he isn’t quite ready for primetime after being taken in the first round out of Duke last year. Kennard is only getting 16 minutes a game and isn’t contributing much on either side of the court. But players like Kennard is all the Pistons can get picking out of the back of the lottery. They need to win now, or lose now.
In the meantime, I guess you can bet on the Pistons being a middle of the road team that will beat the bad teams and lose to the good ones. It must be frustrating to be a Piston’s fan right now, but for the purpose of betting they aren’t without value. They are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league and are going to win more games than they are going to lose this year.
Both teams come into this game fresh, having the night off last night. The Piston’s, however, had a rare three-night break and should come into this one rested and ready to give a full effort. I am more betting against Dallas tonight than I am backing the Pistons. Detroit is serviceable, but they aren’t world beaters, but they won’t have to be tonight against one of the worst teams in the NBA.
I expect this game to be a close one, but I don’t see the Mavericks pulling it out, especially with Smith limited at best. So, give me the Detroit Pistons +1 point on the road at Dallas.