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Four-Pointer: Previewing the Detroit Pistons

The Pistons frontcourt is imposing on paper but a slew of defensive flaws have limited Detroit's potential this season.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

What has Detroit done lately?

The Pistons have lost their last three games and have won just three of the last 10 games. Detroit has been wildly inconsistent this season. Either they are a dominant force with the ability to get out and run and finish at the rim or they are lackadaisical and hoist up ill-conceived shots. There is no middle ground.

What are the Pistons biggest strength and weakness?

Have you seen the size of their frontcourt? If Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith stood on each other's shoulders they would be an imposing 20'6". Of course, they aren't going to do that. Instead, they are Windex-ready. The Pistons lead the NBA in offensive rebounding and are ninth overall in total rebounds. Detroit also forces a lot of turnovers which leads to transition offense. They score 17.7 fastbreak points per game. Only Phoenix scores more in transition.

What hurts Detroit is their inability to defend. Their opponents shoot 51.8 percent on Effective Field Goals, the 28th worst mark in the league. The Pistons' defense also allows their opponents to score 1.106 points per possession. That ranks them 29th in the league.

Which Detroit player might be due for a big game?

Andre Drummond will likely have a monster game against the physically underwhelming Dallas centers. Drummond averages 12.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. Dallas centers average -∞ in every category when they play dominant centers. It wouldn't be surprising if Carlisle turned to the hack-a-Drummond strategy if things start to get out of hand. Drummond is a rather poor free throw shooter.

What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Pistons?

Hmm, let's see... oh, right. NOT BLOW THE LEAD IF THEY ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET ONE! Look, Dallas is going to be eaten alive on the boards and give up a bazillion (it's science) points in the paint. Luckily, Detroit has defensive issues that led to their 17-26 record. Forget defense. The Mavs aren't going to play it anyway. They just need to score and score a lot. That is what they do best. Well, second best. They are second to none in blowing leads.