The Mavericks closed out a rough month this week with wins over the Nuggets and the Knicks. Tonight they'll try to keep the momentum going and start April off right with a win in Detroit against the Pistons.
What happened last time these two teams met?
Last month, the Pistons played a part in the Mavericks' longest losing streak, going off in the fourth quarter after three close ones. Dallas managed to rally late in the game, but just couldn't stop the team's young big men (Andre Drummond and Marcus Morris both had more than 20 points).
The loss came despite a good night from Chandler Parsons and Dirk being Dirk and featured Rick Carlisle claiming a referee baited Deron Williams into a technical foul. It wasn't exactly a high point in the season for Dallas.
What has Detroit done lately?
The team has been on a roll lately, winning six of their last seven games and seven of their last 10. This is partly scheduling (a lot of those wins were over teams that are not making the playoffs), but the Pistons also got very solid wins over both Charlotte and OKC.
They're over .500 for the season and currently a half game above Indiana for the seventh seed in the East.
What are the playoff implications for this game?
Like the Mavericks, the Pistons are in a close race for one of the few remaining playoff spots. Also like the Mavericks, the math for the Pistons is a little complicated, but here's a rundown from earlier in the week of what needs to happen for the team to make the playoffs and at which seed. In case you missed it, here's the more recent MMB version for the Mavericks.
But the short story is that while both teams would benefit from a win in terms of the standings, Dallas is in a much tighter battle and at greater risk of falling out of the playoffs totally. The Mavericks are in a three-way tie with Houston and Utah for the bottom two spots in the West.
How to watch
Tonight's game tips off at 6:30 p.m. Central on Fox Sports Southwest. You can watch on Fox Sports Detroit if you're in the Detroit area or on NBA League Pass elsewhere.