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Dallas Mavericks at Detroit Pistons preview: The #battleofthebirds takes flight

The Mavericks head into the Motor City on the second night of a back-to-back hoping to not give the Pistons a bailout victory.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What did the Pistons do over the summer?

After finishing last season with a 29-53 record under two different head coaches, Maurice Cheeks and John Loyer, the Pistons looked to shake things up. They brought in Stan Van Gundy, former lover of mock turtlenecks, to be both president of basketball operations and the head coach. Van Gundy wasted little time making his presence felt, bringing in Jeff Bower as the GM. The Pistons then went out and signed Jodie Meeks, Caron Butler, D.J. Augustin, Cartier Martin, and Spencer Dinwiddie.

Throughout the summer, the Pistons tried to get Greg Monroe to sign a contract extension. Their efforts were unsuccessful, however, and Monroe simply took a qualifying offer from the team worth approximately $5.5 million. This will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

What has Detroit done lately?

Like the City of Detroit, the Pistons have fallen on hard times. However, while the city just pulled itself out of bankruptcy, the Pistons continue to slide deeper in to the wallow of the Eastern Conference. Since defeating the undermanned Thunder on November 14, the Pistons have posted a record of 2-14. 13 of those losses were consecutive. Their two wins, though, did come against the Suns and the Kings. Unfortunately, that isn't much to hang your hat on when both of those squads are dealing with erratic play.

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

Because much of what can be said about the Pistons is depressing, let's focus on something a little lighter. Andre Drummond, Detroit's star center, is not one to shy away from the gaze of the media. He briefly dated a former Disney Channel actress that I have never heard of (it apparently ended poorly) and recently he has engaged in a friendly feud with Chandler Parsons over birds and socks.

Yup, birds and socks. You see, both have their own signature socks with Stance. Both chose to incorporate birds in the design of their socks and that is where all the trouble started. Parsons, who is from Florida, went with flamingos while Drummond showed love for the birds down south and featured penguins on his socks. From the Stance release:

Mirroring Parsons' flashy style on and off the court, as well as a nod to his Florida roots, his signature sock proudly sports the pink flamingo. To symbolize Drummond's lack of fear, unassuming approach, and cold weather upbringing, his signature sock is adorned with penguins.

Naturally, the two took to Twitter in a #battleofthebirds to decide once and for all which bird reigned supreme.

The jury is still out.

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

Here is where I would usually roll out the tired refrain of "play some damn defense, ya jerks!" But I don't have to this time. Detroit is a mess and can't score. They only score 93.3 points per game which is second worst in the NBA. Their field goal percentage is the worst in the league at 40.9 percent.

It's the second game on the road of a back to back as the Mavs faced the Knicks Tuesday night in New York. While there could be some sluggishness on the Mavericks' part, and rebounding could be an issue for Dallas, neither should be so egregious that the Mavs fall to the Pistons if they just show up and run their offense like they usually do. This should be an easy win. (I just jinxed it, didn't I?)

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