DALLAS — The Detroit Pistons, on the rebound from a recent seven-game losing streak, will look to feast on another sub-.500 club when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
The Pistons (17-13) will be going for their fourth consecutive victory. The only team in that group that sported a winning record was the Indiana Pacers.
On the other hand, Detroit’s seven-game slump, which ruined a fast 14-6 start, came against some of the NBA’s best teams — including the San Antonio Spurs, the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics.
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The Pistons will have to continue their winning ways without guard Avery Bradley, as the defensive specialist’s sore hip hasn’t responded to treatment. He will be held out of action for at least another week.
“Similar to a sports hernia, but it’s not that,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said Tuesday. “The symptoms and stuff are the same. It’s going to take some time, but he’ll basically do nothing for the next seven days and then we’ll see where he is and whether we’re starting him back or not.”
Luke Kennard started the past two games for Detroit, and Bradley’s absence also has meant extended minutes for Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson and Langston Galloway, who all have performed well when called upon during the winning streak.
Acquired before this season from the Boston Celtics, Bradley brings a two-way value that is hard to replace. He typically guards the other team’s best perimeter player, and he is Detroit’s second-leading scorer at 15.8 points per game.
“Our depth is good and guys are capable of stepping up,” Van Gundy said.
The Pistons head into the matchup against a Dallas squad that has played well, even during the six-game absence of rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (hip). However, the Mavericks have little to show for it because of an inability to hold leads in crunch time.
They were outscored 13-0 in the final minutes in a loss at San Antonio, and the Phoenix Suns rallied from a 12-point deficit to win 97-91 in Dallas on Monday.
The Mavs (8-23) hope to have their speedy point guard back in the starting lineup against the Pistons. Coach Rick Carlisle said Smith is “optimistically questionable” after the rookie went through intense workouts Monday and Tuesday.
The close losses have led to some soul-searching by the Mavs, who dropped to 6-11 at home — giving them more home losses than only the Suns and Grizzlies. Phoenix and Memphis both have 12 home defeats.
After a massive breakdown against the Spurs on Saturday, a game the Mavs controlled throughout before falling 98-96, Dallas guard Wesley Matthews said, “This isn’t our first heartbreaking loss. It isn’t our first loss where we gave away a lead. I don’t know if there’s any long-term effects. If anything, it should (tick) us off going into Monday.”
Perhaps it did, but it didn’t do any good as Dallas blew a 71-59 lead in the third quarter against Phoenix and was outscored 17-2 during a portion of the fourth quarter.