Pistons vs Mavericks Game Preview - Jan. 10, 2012
Dirk Nowitzki is mired in a shooting slump for the Dallas Mavericks, though it may seem minimal compared to the recent lackluster efforts of the Detroit Pistons.
The Mavericks look to send the Pistons to their fifth consecutive loss when the teams meet Tuesday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Nowitzki is averaging 12.0 points and shooting 30.8 percent over his last three games, though Dallas (4-5) overcame his 2-for-11, 10-point effort in Saturday's 96-81 victory over New Orleans.
The Mavericks have won three of their last four games after dropping four of five to begin the season.
"It's a win. When you're struggling like we are, the only thing you can take out of this is that it's a win," Nowitzki said. "I've got to keep working. I'm not there yet. I had shots. I've got to make them."
The veteran complained of fatigue after going 3 for 11 with six points in Thursday's blowout loss to San Antonio, but he and the defending champion Mavericks received two days off for the first time this month.
Saturday's contest ended a stretch of five games in seven days.
Vince Carter and Ian Mahinmi led six players in double figures with 13 points each for Dallas, which played without Jason Kidd after he suffered a lower-back injury against the Spurs.
The Mavericks' bench outscored New Orleans' 53-31.
"This is kind of the defining characteristic of this season," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Depth is king, energy trumps everything."
Kidd will miss at least the next two games due to the injury, though Nowitzki should be able to get back on track against Detroit if history is any indication.
Nowitzki is averaging 29.5 points and shooting 52.8 percent in his last six games versus the Pistons (2-7), who are coming off their worst offensive effort of the season.
Detroit has lost by an average of 21.5 points during its four-game skid while shooting 38.4 percent, setting a season-low for points in Monday's 92-68 defeat at Chicago.
The Pistons are scoring a league-worst 82.4 points per game and haven't scored more than 96.
Greg Monroe had team highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while rookie Brandon Knight scored 13 points.
"On offense we were making the right plays, but when you're playing a high-end team like (Chicago), you have to play four quarters," coach Lawrence Frank said.
Rodney Stuckey (sore groin) nor Charlie Villanueva (sore right ankle) played at all, each missing their third consecutive game. They're listed as day to day, though Frank said injuries are no excuse, especially in a shortened season when injuries are expected.
"Every team has a lot of games and that's just the reality," Frank said. "That's the reason why guys are getting hurt. There's a lot of games in a short of time, without the same previous training practices. It happened in the NFL and it happened here. It is what it is."
The Mavericks have won seven of the last nine meetings, though the Pistons ended a five-game skid in the series with a 103-89 victory in the most recent matchup Jan. 17.
Stuckey had 20 points and Tayshaun Prince 19 to help overcome Nowitzki's game-high 32 in that contest.