With two days having passed since their last game -- an eternity in this schedule -- the Mavs have a shot to even their record for the first time against the struggling Detroit Pistons, who lost for a fourth straight time Monday night, trampled by the Chicago Bulls, 92-68. This game will be about energy and the Mavs need to bring it against a downtrodden club.
Dallas will have to do find that energy and some rhythm without point guard Jason Kidd (lower back) for a second consecutive game, and this an important one because Dallas faces a rested Boston Celtics team on Wednesday. The Celtics will have had four days off since their last game.
Records: Mavs (4-5); Pistons (2-7)
When: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills
Radio: 103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has challenged Rodrigue Beaubois to bring a more determined and disciplined defensive effort on a more consistent basis. Dirk Nowitzki challenged the third-year guard to make better decisions and attack the basket. With Jason Kidd on the shelf again, Beaubois should get an opportunity to show improvement in both areas against the Pistons, a team that has trouble cracking 80 and doesn't exactly play "Bad Boy" defense. As has been stated here before, Beaubois might not be a regular rotation player with a fully healthy roster, but he will be integral throughout the season to help keep Kidd rested. Showing he can contribute now could do wonders not only for Beaubois' confidence, but for Carlisle's confidence in him.
Key matchup: Dirk Nowitzki vs. Jonas Jerebko
The second-year forward out of Sweden will have his hands full as Nowitzki looks to break out of a shooting slump that has seen him miss 17-of-22 shots in the last two games and score just 16 points. Nowitzki nearly had back-to-back single digit games for the first time since Nov. 26, 2003 when he left scoreless after seven minutes with a sprained ankle, and Dec. 10, 2003 when he returned from the injury and scored nine points in 27 minutes. Nowitzki is averaging a team-high 19.0 points, but shooting just 43.8 percent overall and 20.0 percent on 3s.
Injuries: Mavs - G Jason Kidd (lower back) is out. Pistons - F Charlie Villanueva (right ankle) is questionable; G Rodney Stuckey (groin) is questionable.
Up next: Mavs at Boston Celtics, 7 p.m., Wednesday
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