Sorry about no stuff for the last game, I was doing homework and not paying full attention to the game, and as it got further away I paid less attention and decided I wouldn’t have any good insights regardless. This is going to be a bit of an abridged scouting as well.
Tonight the Pistons host Dallas at the Palace in their last game before the all star break. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Bucks on Monday, while the Mavs are also on one day of rest after losing to the Celtics on Monday.
The Mavs have started to turn it around a bit after a very rough start to the season, they currently sit with a very decent offensive efficiency of 104.4 and a pretty poor defensive efficiency of 106.2. Deron Williams starts at point for them and he is a fairly capable player if nothing special, Seth Curry is playing shooting guard these days and is shooting lights out and really appearing to come into his own. Harrison Barnes is proving the doubters wrong for the most part by scoring an fairly efficient 20.1 points per game on a very difficult diet of shots, while also essentially playing power forward full time. Wes Matthews has also mostly found his game back after a very difficult start to the year, as he now is averaging 15.5 points per game while launching tons of 3s at a high efficiency and playing aggressive bull dog defense. Dirk now spends quite a bit of time playing center and even though his stats have slowed down a bit, he is still the greatest shooting big of all time and he is playing better as of late after an injury riddled start to the season. Yogi Ferrell might be the greatest player of all time, Devin Harris is still fairly competent, Salah Mejri doesn’t do a ton but he can protect the rim and dunk. Dwight Powell is a good athlete who plays hard, Dorian Finney-Smith has slowed down after a really good start to the season.
The Mavs are starting to find their way, they have a very nice pair of versatile wing players in Barnes and Matthews, and with Curry and Ferrell starting to play really well they look like they might have something. They are not a lot of good, but they are not bad either.
Matchups to watch:
- Andre vs. Dirk: This should be, interesting. Obviously Dirk will give fits for the Pistons defense as leaving Dirk alone on the perimeter is not an option, but the thought of Dirk having to chase around Drummond in pick and rolls and keeping him off the glass, with only Harrison Barnes on the floor to help him does sound like Andre could have a huge night.
- Piston forwards vs Barnes: Barnes is really good and scores on lots of really tough shots. Leuer, Morris, Tobias, and Stanley will all likely get time on him and they will have their work cut out for them.
- Pistons vs Good defensive rotations: One of the Pistons biggest problems this year (defensively) has been making consistent and crisp rotations at the 3 point line. The Mavs struggle with lots of things, but they don’t struggle to shoot 3s. If the Pistons are lazy or unfocused then the Mavs will murder them with the long ball.
- Pistons backcourt vs Being good: Both members of the Pistons starting backcourt has really struggled lately. Reggie has been passing the ball well (and with higher frequency) but his scoring has been low and he seems less willing to take the tough shots that he is paid to get. KCP has apparently forgotten that you are allowed to make the ball go in the hoop, and if he could fix that it’d be great.
- Bench vs Being good again: After bringing back the Pistons against Toronto, the Pistons bench laid a pretty big egg against the Bucks, hopefully they can bounce back.
- Pistons vs Good vibes: If the Pistons win then they enter the all star break on a decent little run of winning games and a record of 27-30 while being in a playoff spot. If they could just really play well tonight the vibe around the team will just be better heading into the final push.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
- The Mavs have no answer for Andre.
- The Pistons are making good rotations and snuffing out 3 point looks.
- Reggie and KCP start scoring again.
Run for the hills if:
- Reggie and KCP continue to be the brick brothers.
- Dirk’s shooting totally ruins the integrity of the Piston defense.
- The Pistons don’t have anyone who can really guard Barnes effectively.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
- Other than a couple lapses that result in open 3s, Andre largely dominates Dirk and the Mavs inside.
- Reggie has another efficient game where he gets lots of assists.
- A KCP resurgence. (Bound to happen at some point right?)
- Pistons ride Andre and a hot shooting night for KCP to a fairly easy win to head into the all star break.
- Pistons 107 – Mavs 92.
What do you think? Will Andre’s size and athleticism overcome Dirk’s shooting? Can KCP remember how to shoot?