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Four-Pointer: Previewing the Detroit Pistons

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The Mavericks' Eastern Conference road trip rolls into Detroit after a win against the Sixers last night.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What have the Pistons done lately?

Well, they beat the Hawks last night? But they've lost thee of their last four and overall are 23-32. They fired their coach mid-season. And have just in general continued to be middling. Despite reports that they were shopping Josh Smith at the trade deadline, they didn't make any moves, so they continue to have have a logjam in the frontcourt.

And are somehow STILL hanging around the playoff picture. Because Eastern Conference.

Which Mavericks player might be due for a big game?

Jae Crowder, obviously. (Maybe?) But seriously, probably Dirk again. The big guy had a fantastic game last night before being able to rest for most of the fourth quarter, which should have him ready to go tonight. Also receiving consideration, Monta Ellis, who had a rough shooting night against the Sixers and will be looking to improve on that tonight.

What stat, player or fact might surprise you about Detroit?

Monta Ellis may be fourth in the league in steals (that actually surprised me!) but Detroit has two guys who are not far behind -- Josh Smith is 13th and Brandon Jennings is 16th.

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

Probably not turn the ball over nine hundred million 23 times. But seriously, a large part of the reason the Mavericks were able to hang on against the 76ers last night was because Sixers. Detroit is a better team than Philly, and does very well for themselves on the boards (Andre Drummond is second in the league overall in rebounds), so ball security will be more important. Which I'm sure Carlisle will remind the team of as he tries not to murder them after the game last night.

As usual, they will also need to bring their shooting and not totally suck on defense.