Thursday, Dec. 12 – Pistons vs Mavericks
The Pistons (9-14 as of Monday morning) are still stuck in the middle of the NBA and without a seismic trade, there is no end in sight. Andre Drummond continues to grab a lot of rebounds. Blake Griffin is battling injury but still putting up solid stats. The Pistons are hovering around .500. Coach Dwane Casey will hopefully be given an extended leash as the team looks to slowly but surely climb its way out of the mediocrity pit.
It will be fun to see this game played in Mexico City. Dallas last played in Mexico City back in January 2017 in a game against the Phoenix Suns.
Matchup to watch: Defending the perimeter
Detroit currently leads the NBA in three point shooting percentage at .396%. The Pistons have six players attempting more than 3.0 three attempts per game and five of them are comfortably shooting over 40% from deep. That group of five includes NBA Twitter favorite Luke Kennard. The former lottery pick who everyone claims to “love” (an insanely overused term in internet player evaluation) is finally putting it all together this season. He’s playing 10+ more minutes per game (22.8 last season to 33.1 this year) and his shooting efficiency from deep has not slipped with an increase in volume.
As the Mavericks continue to focus on improving their defense, they will need to be prepared to be flying around on the perimeter against the Pistons on Thursday night.
Saturday, Dec. 14 – Mavericks @ Heat
Saturday marks the beginning of a tough East Coast trip for the Mavericks, starting in Miami. Both the Heat (17-6) and the Mavericks (16-7) can be seen as two of the league’s top surprises so far. Not that they weren’t projected to be playoff teams but not to the extent of play that each team has shown so far.
This Heat team sure looks a lot different than the Miami team of 2011, who lost to Dallas in the Finals. The Heat can attack you from several ways with several different players. Everything runs through Jimmy Butler but the likes of Goran Dragic, Justice Winslow, rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro, and especially Bam Adebayo can make plays for themselves as well.
Matchup to watch: Bam Adebayo vs Mavs bigs
Adebayo has been fantastic for the Heat all season long, truly taking a leap with Hassan Whiteside no longer in his way. Bam is averaging 14.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. He does it all for Miami. Outside of watching Bam’s playmaking ability from the post and elbow, Porzingis, Powell, and company will need to be quick on their feet to compete with Adebayo on the glass.
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