Pistons-Mavericks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 01, 2012
The struggling Dallas Mavericks' backcourt is in flux and they have added a veteran with a championship pedigree to try to help stabilize it. Derek Fisher is expected to make his debut with the club Saturday night when the Mavericks host the Detroit Pistons trying to avoid their first four-game skid. Fisher took part in his first practice with Dallas (7-9) on Friday after signing earlier in the week. The 38-year-old has not played since Game 5 of the NBA finals for Oklahoma City. ''I've been working hard, just keeping myself ready for this moment, not really knowing where it would be,'' Fisher said. "Just to be back out here with a group of guys with everybody working hard is good.'' Starting point guard Darren Collison is questionable for Saturday's game after sitting out Wednesday's 101-78 defeat at Chicago because of a sprained right middle finger. Third-year guard Dominique Jones has started the last two games. Coach Rick Carlisle believes Fisher's experience of 16 seasons in the league - and earning five championships rings - can help Collison. "We got a great situation with him and Collison, because we got two great players," Carlisle said. "Darren's still one of our best players and I've made that clear to him. I see him as a guy that's still developing and I can't imagine a better situation for a young point guard than being at practice every day with Derek Fisher." The Mavericks have hit hard times as losers of eight of 11, including two blowout defeats during this slide. This contest precedes a stretch of six of seven games on the road. "We've got to show a collective caring for one another and a collective toughness,'' Carlisle said. "We're entering a really difficult stretch of our schedule. Nothing's going to be easy. We've got to embrace that challenge.'' Top scorer O.J. Mayo is averaging 19.8 points, but he's only given the team 9.3 per game on 32.4 percent shooting during this losing streak. With Mayo slumping, it's unclear how the Mavericks can get an offense averaging 88.3 points on 39.0 percent shooting in this slide untracked. Chris Kaman is the team's second-leading scorer, but the 7-footer is averaging 11.3 points on 38.5 percent shooting in this woeful stretch. Dallas has won its last four at home over Detroit (5-12), which fell to 1-9 on the road with Friday's 90-78 loss to Memphis. The Pistons shot 52.6 percent in consecutive home victories before finishing at 40.3 percent with their second-lowest point total of the season against the Grizzlies. Greg Monroe scored 17 points to go along with a career-high seven of the season-worst 22 turnovers by the Pistons. "Unforced turnovers and unforced errors," said guard Brandon Knight, who had a season-high six miscues. "We gave them a lot of easy baskets." Detroit was also let down by poor production from its guards. The starting backcourt of Knight and rookie Kyle Singler combined for 19 points on 6-of-16 shooting while reserve Rodney Stuckey made 3 of 11 shots for six points. The Pistons have lost 27 of their last 28 road games against Western Conference foes.
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