Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 7:30 PM ET at American Airlines Center
Game Rewind: Pacers 94, Mavericks 105
Scott Agness | March 9, 2014
The Pacers weren’t feeling good about their play heading out on a three-game road trip. Though they had recently won six of seven, albeit all over teams with losing records, their defensive prowess had faded and so, too, had their winning spirit.
After falling in Houston on Friday, many key players spent time hammering things out in the locker room before speaking with the media, and even showering. They’re a determined bunch that has hit a rough patch throughout the 82-game schedule.
Getting behind early, the Pacers (46-17) had to work their way back from a big hole. They led for about three minutes in the third quarter, but got very little from their bench and turned it over 21 times, in a 105-94 loss to the Mavericks (38-26). Indiana’s losing streak grows to four, which has occurred over a six-day span, is its first since March 2012.
Slow start to games has been a common theme during the Pacers’ struggles over the last few weeks. Not five minutes into the game and they quickly were in a 10-point hole. The Pacers’ defense didn’t bog down the Mavericks, who shot 59 percent over the first 12 minutes. Lance Stephenson and Paul George combined for 16 of the Pacers 18 first-quarter points. The Mavericks closed the quarter on a 10-2 run and led, 30-18.
Things got worse before they got better for the Pacers. Stephenson, who was 7-for-8 in the first half and had 18 points at the break, helped the team with its energy level at both ends. Over the final four minutes of the half, the Pacers went inside — scoring five field goals within eight feet of the basket and making four free throws — and were effective. A strong 14-2 run to close the half helped the Pacers crunch their deficit to three points, 48-45.
Out of the locker room, George scored the Pacers’ first nine points and keyed a big run — 10-2 — that gave them their first lead, 55-50. From there, however, the Mavs took the lead for good on a 20-5 run during which Indiana’s three wing players — George, Stephenson and Evan Turner — all dealt with four fouls each. George Hill, who had 11 in the quarter, later pumped the team up with a pair of threes, and they’d head into the fourth period down by just five.
Midway through the fourth, Stephenson buried his third outside shot of the night and George sank two foul shots to pull the Pacers to within two — part of a 7-0 spurt. Mavs guard Devin Harris had eight points off the bench in the fourth and was responsible for the dagger: a triple with 34 seconds left. Indiana was beat to 50-50 balls, struggled to string stops together and gave the ball away 21 times, none of which is an ingredient to be successful.
For them to return to the win column, Indiana, whose given up an average of 109 points per game on this three-game trip, must find its defensive mojo — starting Tuesday night against Boston at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They’re fortunate (but missed out on a great opportunity for separation) that while they’ve lost four consecutive games, the Miami Heat have dropped three in a row and remain one and half games back.
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers had three scorers with 20 points or more for the 18th time this season (15-3). Paul George was 8-for-14 and finished with a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds. Lance Stephenson made all but two of his 10 shots, including all three 3-point attempts, for 21 points and George Hill added 20.
The Mavericks improve to 11-1 this season when six players finish in double figures. Monta Ellis tallied 20 points, eight scored at the line, and eight rebounds. Devin Harris, who missed their first meeting with an injury, scored a season-high 20 points — 15 coming in the second half. Dirk Nowitzki shot just 3-for-14 in the game but chipped in 14 points.
Dallas, who’s third in The Association in steals per game (8.8), scored 26 points off of 21 Indiana turnovers.
The Pacers gave up 15 offensive boards leading to 15 second-chance points, and were outrebounded by one.
“Tough loss for our guys. You've got to give the Mavs credit. They played a better basketball game. We turned the ball over a little too much, and didn't take care of the glass well enough — long rebounds, bad bounces and they got 14 more shots than we did. So, [it's] tough to win a game when you give the other team 14 more shots." – Frank Vogel
“They had a tough night. There’s no doubt about it.” – Frank Vogel on his team’s four bench points
“Stay the course. We've got a good basketball team. … We’ll work through it. We'll be alright." – Frank Vogel’s message to his team
"We're good. This was an encouraging game. Again, I thought we played with a lot of energy. We played for one another — which we preach. Our defense held up for the most part. Again, I just thought they got hot. They shot [44%] in the game. A lot of those were tough shots that we forced. [And] we turned the ball over.” – Paul George
Stat of the Game
Indiana’s bench managed just one field goal and was outscored 41-4.
- Dallas joins Phoenix as the only two teams to sweep their season series with Indiana.
- C.J. Watson (sprained right elbow) missed his third consecutive game.
- Pacers have lost four times in the last six days. It took them 49 days and 24 games to lose their first four games this season.
- Dallas forward Jae Crowder left the game early with an abdominal strain.
- With 20,361 in the stands tonight, the Mavericks sold out for an NBA-best 504 consecutive game, which dates back to Dec. 15, 2001.
Tuesday, Mar. 11 vs Boston – 7 p.m. EST