Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea will not take the court when the Dallas Mavericks (24-55) visit Detroit to face the Pistons (37-41) on Friday night.
Nowitzki will miss the final three games of the season after undergoing surgical debridement of his left ankle on Thursday in Dallas.
In 77 games, Nowitzki has averaged 12 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 40.9 percent for the Mavs this season. The Würzburg native was the ninth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft and has expressed desire to return for the 2018-2019 season.
Veteran guard Barea, in his second stint with the Mavs, sat out the majority of Wednesday’s loss against Orlando due to a left oblique strain. Mavs.com reports that Barea is officially being ruled out for the rest of the season in an effort to not risk further injury.
The 12-year veteran has averaged career-highs in points (11.6) and assists (6.3) while shooting 43.9 percent from the field in 69 games.
Without both veterans in the lineup, look for fresh faces to get extended opportunities. Mavs forward Jonathan Motley played 41 minutes in Wednesday’s 105-100 loss against Orlando. Recent addition Aaron Harrison logged 42 minutes in the loss while Dorian Finney-Smith and Kyle Collinsworth each totaled 35 minutes.
A loss in Detroit would help Dallas maintain the fourth-worst record in the Association this season, granting the franchise an opportunity to land a highly touted prospect in the 2018 NBA draft.
DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson and Michael Porter Jr. are among the hopefuls who project to be selected within the first 10 picks.
Detroit’s loss against Philadelphia on Wednesday eliminated the Pistons from playoff consideration, leaving both teams without any postseason motivation for tonight’s contest.
The Pistons owned a five-game winning streak prior to their loss.
Dallas defeated Detroit, 110-93, when the two teams last faced each other in late December. Harrison Barnes led the way with 25 points, six Mavs finished with 10 points or more.
The Pistons own a seven-game advantage spanning 73 regular season contests between both franchises beginning Nov. 8, 1980.
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