The Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks two teams with identical records (21-26) are both making a push for the post season, will meet tonight at the AAC. This will be the first time Detroit will get to see the rookie sensation that is Luka up close and personal.
Dallas will attempt to maintain their home court advantage (17-6) and ride the momentum of the 106-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, to a new winning streak.
The Mavs one-two punch
DSJ returned after a sabbatical from the team on Tuesday against the Clippers and had himself a game with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Luka continued to struggle shooting on 5/15 from the floor and 0/8 from three on the night.
The debate continues, if these two rising stars can thrive together long-term. It is much too early to call if the Mavs can salvage the Dennis Smith relationship, but all MFFL’s should have their fingers crossed.
Rick making the adjustment to stagger the two seemed to show positive results albeit on a small sample size. Ideally, Dennis will push the pace and attack the rim when he runs the offense. While Luka methodically probes and picks defenses apart with his superb vision.
With both players on the floor it they should be able to keep defenses guessing and create some brutal mismatches. Can DSJ and Doncic become the “Fire and Ice” duo we envisioned at the beginning of the season?
Detroit’s front court
Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond make their own dynamic duo in the front court, attacking the boards and dominating in the paint. The last two times this duo played together they have combined for an average of 39 points and 21.5 rebounds a game.
Drummond missed their last game against the Pelicans going through the concussion protocol and will most likely be a game-time decision. Even if he doesn’t suit up tonight, Griffin can be more than enough to handle down low, just ask his former teammate.
“He’s a load down there,” Jordan said. “He’s tough. We’ve got to do our best and be physical with him and not foul him.”
Griffin just finished stuffing the stat sheet with 37 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists against New Orleans. With Drummond out, he will assert himself even more than usual and at times looks unstoppable. Griffin can shoot threes at a respectable clip now and has always been one of the best play making big men in the league. Expect Kleber and Jordan to have the responsibility of defending him most of the night. DJ loves to play against his old friends and this should be a fun match up to watch.
Yesterday, the All-Star starters were announced, and despite his 4.2 million plus fan votes (second in the Western conference) Doncic was not selected.
I won’t go into the whole list of starters and who got snubbed and why. I won’t talk about why I think the new voting process really takes away from what the fans want to see. I absolutely won’t talk about how/why Kostas Antetokounmpo received three player votes when he has yet to play one minute in the regular season.
What I will say is this, Luka is an All-Star. Maybe not this year or next but soon and often. What he is doing this rookie season is absolutely ridiculous, let alone for a 19-year-old. He has brought real hope and buzz to a franchise that has been absent of that special something for some time.
Luka still has a good chance at being named an All-Star reserve and those will be announced soon. Until then, it is business as usual as fans await to see if their ROTY candidate gets the nod. But I would not be surprised if “Cool Hand” Luka puts a little extra show on tonight, as he continues his historic season.
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