The Detroit Pistons have seemingly righted the ship following a long losing streak and they’ll try to extend their current run of consecutive wins to four when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. The Pistons dropped seven straight to open December before stepping up their game defensively in two road wins and then posting their best offensive effort of the month with a 114-110 victory at home against Orlando on Sunday.
Reggie Bullock scored 20 points while making 8-of-10 shots and Detroit sank 17-of-34 3-pointers while holding off a fourth-quarter charge by the Magic. “We played a very good first half, Reggie Bullock and Anthony Tolliver played very well, and we didn’t try at all in the second half,” coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. “We didn’t bring anything to the second half.” The Mavericks have had some late swoons of their own during a three-game slide and they were outscored 29-16 in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 97-91 loss to Phoenix. Harrison Barnes scored 26 points on 11-of-21 shooting but the rest of his team was 21-for-67 and Dallas shot 36.4 percent overall, its worst mark since Oct. 26.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (17-13): Bullock was making his fourth straight start and figures to get more with guard Avery Bradley (groin) now expected to miss at least another week of action. “This is probably one of my most true opportunities probably, since I’ve been in the league,” Bullock told reporters. “Just knowing I’m going to be in the rotation.” The 26-year-old is averaging 12.8 points on 64.5 percent shooting in those four starts while making 9-of-15 3-pointers and recording eight steals.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (8-23): Rookie Dennis Smith Jr., who ranks second to Barnes in scoring with 14.4 point per game, has missed six straight games with a hip injury but coach Rick Carlisle called his point guard “optimistically questionable” for Wednesday. Dallas has averaged 95.5 points since Smith was sidelined after going above 100 in four of the five games prior to the injury. Fellow rookie Maximilian Kleber is showing signs of becoming a go-to player but he is shooting 44 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc at home, compared to 63.5 and 43.5, respectively, on the road.
1. Pistons G Reggie Jackson averaged 21 points as his team took both meetings last season.
2. Mavericks PF Dirk Nowitzki needs two 3-pointers to tie Chauncey Billups (1,830) for 12th all-time in the NBA.
3. Tolliver buried 5-of-7 3-pointers against Orlando and is 14-of-25 over a five-game span.
PREDICTION: Pistons 107, Mavericks 102