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Mavericks vs Pistons Preview: 4 things as Dallas hosts Detroit

The boys are back in town

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks (26-25) are coming off a disappointing loss Saturday night in Utah. Dallas welcomes the Detroit Pistons (13-38) to the American Airline Center on Monday night. While it’s important to remember that players don’t tank, Detroit doesn’t have much to play for beyond pride and player development. Dallas really needs to focus in order to get this win.

Luka Doncic, as of Sunday afternoon, is listed as questionable with a left ankle sprain he suffered in the opening minutes of the Phoenix Suns game. Christian Wood is listed out due to (a thumb) injury. Wood will be re-evaluated in one week. The Mavericks still have no update on Maxi Kleber returning to the court. Due to back issues, Detroit will be without Cory Joseph for Monday's game.

Trap game

The Mavericks can't afford to look ahead of their daunting schedule. The Pistons are a team comfortable tanking, so even if Luka doesn't play, the Mavericks should have the ability to beat a lousy basketball team. Detroit has won just three games since the calendar rolled over into 2023 and Dallas very much wants to avoid losing to the Pistons again after the embarrassing overtime loss on December 1st.

Detroit's defense stinks

Detroit currently ranks second to last in the NBA in defensive rating and they giving up 120.2 points a game. Last week, the Pistons surrendered 150 points against the Bucks. Hopefully, the Mavericks can recapture some of their perimeter magic from this weekend when Dallas drained 18 three-pointers in a loss to Utah. The shots will certainly be available to the Mavericks either way, they just need to knock them down.

Spencer welcomes the responsibility

With Luka Doncic missing time due to injury, Spencer Dinwiddie hasn't shied away from being the guy. After Saturday night Dinwiddie became only 5th Maverick ever to have back to back 35 point games. Luka has 15 such sets, Mark Aguirre has 8, Dirk Nowitzki has 5, and Kristaps Porzingis has one and those are all the others Dallas players on this list. Unfortunately, Spencer was a no-show in the Maverick's loss to the Pistons in December when he tied a season-low with only 2 points in an overtime loss in Detriot 131-125.

Bojan Bogdanovic on the block

Bogdanovic is a player the Mavericks have been connected to as the February 9th trade deadline draws near. But, with the Detriot Pistons looking to get into the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, could Monday night be an audition for Bojan? The 33-year-old veteran dropped a game-high 30 points in the victory over Dallas in December.

The Pistons are asking a lot though, so it seems unlikely. Still, you’re all allowed to day dream about Bojan in a Dallas uniform.

How to watch

You can broadcast or stream the game on Bally Sports at 7:30 pm CST.