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On Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks continue their road trip as they travel to Indiana to play the Indiana Pacers. The Mavericks are coming into this matchup struggling while also being shorthanded as they now face a three game losing streak. This will mark only the second time that the Mavericks have played in arena with fans as the NBA monitors the virus.
On Monday, the Mavericks played the Toronto Raptors in Tampa Bay, Florida due to COVID-19 travel concerns by the NBA. Kyle Lowry had a near triple-double with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while his teammate Chris Boucher stood out by adding 21 points off the bench leading to a 116-93 Raptors victory. Luka Doncic was shut down by the Raptors as he posted 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting while the team had to rely on Kristaps Porzingis as he led the team with 23 points and nine rebounds. The game was tied at 47-47 after the first half and it was all Raptors from that point on as they turned on the afterburner to breakaway from the Mavericks. Tim Hardaway Jr was held scoreless as he struggled shooting the ball by going 0-for-12 in coming back from a groin injury. The Raptors were able to extend their winning streak to three game while the Mavericks dropped to 6-7 on the season.
The Indiana Pacers are coming into this game winning two of their last three games for a record of 8-5 on the season. Their most recent matchup resulted in a 129-96 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Coming into this season, the Pacers had a fairly quiet season as they were able to maintain key players on their roster. That would change during the season as recently they traded Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets as part of the James Harden trade that sent him to the Brooklyn Nets. This is a very tough Pacers team as they are in the top 10 in the NBA in blocks and steals per game which resulted in 8 victories thus far. The Pacers look to make some ground as they stand at fourth place in the eastern conference and half a game behind first place.
Entering this game, the Mavericks split their regular season series against the Indiana Pacers 1-1 with the Pacers claiming the most recent victory. The Mavericks have won five of the seven recent meetings between the Pacers. Overall, the Mavericks lead the all-time series lead with a record of 44-33. This is the only known matchup between these teams in the first half of the NBA season.
The Mavericks started this game still without four key players as they remain out due to health and safety protocols. The Mavericks offense got off to a good start by going on a 6-0 run before it ended by Malcolm Brogdon making a shot for the Pacers. These Mavericks already look much more confident than their matchup against the Raptors by being aggressive and taking good shots. The Pacers weren’t going to be intimidated as they were neck and neck with these Mavericks in the early stages of the first quarter. Tim Hardaway Jr already scored more points than last game by making his first two shots taken for 5 points. A 7-2 run by the Mavericks midway through the quarter was enough for the Pacers to call timeout in hopes of stopping the bleeding with 5:42 left in the quarter. The Mavericks are having it their way in the paint and rightfully so with Myles Turner out for the Pacers which will leave the paint open. The Pacers were trying to find their way in the game but couldn’t maintain with the Mavericks as they were allowing the Mavericks to get good shots. Trey Burke entered the game off the bench for the Mavericks and immediately contributed by putting up 7 points in four minutes of play. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Pacers couldn’t catch up with the Mavericks pace as the quarter would end with the Mavericks taking a 37-28 lead. These Mavericks looked like they got their talents back from Tampa Bay as they were playing the way we are accustomed to them playing. The paint was open for business as the Mavericks took advantage for 22 points by attacking the Pacers interior defense. The Mavericks improved their shot selection by shooting 64% on 16 of 25 shooting from the field. Trey Burke would lead the Mavericks after one quarter with 12 points as Kristaps Porzingis is not too far behind him with 10 points.
The Pacers tried to catch up with the Mavericks and they were able to do so by trimming the lead to five points by hitting their first two threes taken in the second quarter. In order to overcome the Mavericks lead, the Pacers would need to generate some stops on defense by limiting the Mavericks points in the paint and taking good shots. Luka Doncic would head to the locker room with a knee injury suffered in the early stages of the quarter as the Pacers took advantage by cutting the lead to 3 points. The Pacers were able to climb back by creating open looks behind the arc which were beneficial as they were getting stops on the defensive end. The Mavericks are clearly going to need Luka Doncic to return back to the court if they want to have any chance and he would indeed return with 7:16 left in the second quarter with the Mavericks leading 45-42. Second chance points would be crucial as the Mavericks were able to use that to their advantage by out scoring 8-2 in that category. The Mavericks were looking for their first three pointer in the quarter but that wouldn’t matter as they kept attacking the paint. Luka Doncic was playing like there was no problem with his knee as he was able to find wide open teammates for easy points to maintain the Mavericks lead. A 7-5 run by the Mavericks would lead the Pacers into calling a full timeout with 4:06 left in the quarter with the Mavericks leading 55-49. The Mavericks did something they couldn’t do in the last game which is getting to the free-throw line while being in the “bonus” which helps as the Mavericks. They certainly would like to get points in whichever way they can get them. The Pacers saw their three point deficit increase back to ten points as the Mavericks were getting a couple of easy baskets. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Pacers stormed back as they were able to come within two points to close out the quarter. The Mavericks would take a 65-63 lead heading into the third quarter as they closed out the quarter poorly. The Mavericks shot the three ball very poorly as they took six shots without making a single one as they couldn’t extend their lead. The Pacers would put a fight as they were able to stay within distance of the Mavericks and they shot the ball well in the second quarter by making four three pointers. Trey Burke would lead the Mavericks in scoring after two quarter with 16 points as Kristaps Porzingis was not too far behind with 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting. The Pacers were able to use production from Domantas Sabonis and Malcom Brogdon combining for 27 points in the first half. The key factor so far in this game was the Pacers shooting 43.5% from three on 10 of 23 shooting compared to the Mavericks 17.6% on 3 of 17 shooting as the Pacers were able to use that to chip away the Mavericks lead. The Mavericks would need to get their three point shooting going in the second half if they want to leave with a victory otherwise a four game losing would be waiting for them on the plane.
Coming out of the half, the Mavericks had a chance to increase their lead but couldn’t capitalize on wide open looks to begin the third quarter. That would spell disaster for the Mavericks as the Pacers were able to take their first lead of the game by going on a 7-2 run. The Mavericks would find themselves right back on top thanks in large part of Kristaps Porzingis hitting a 28-foot three pointer to take a 72-70 lead. That would be the first three pointer made for the Mavericks since the first quarter. The Mavericks quickly developed a 7-0 run but Domantas Sabonis would be the drought buster for the Pacers. Kristaps Porzingis got himself going by scoring 9 points for the Mavericks in the early stages of the quarter. With the Mavericks settling in the third quarter, the Pacers decided to use a full timeout as they saw themselves trailing 78-74 with 6:41 left in the quarter. Coming off the timeout, the Mavericks used 6-2 run but the Pacers would simply not go away as they were toe-to-toe with the Mavericks. Again the Pacers were able to erase the Mavericks lead to tie it at 86-86 with Malcom Brogdon hitting a three point shot. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks had trouble closing out the quarter as the Pacers used a 5-0 run before Rick Carlisle had to use a timeout. The quarter would end with the Mavericks regaining the lead by Jalen Brunson hitting a floater in the final seconds to take a 93-92 lead heading into the final quarter. Kristaps Porzingis added 12 points for the Mavericks in the third quarter which would turn out to be huge in maintaining the lead
The Mavericks finally were able to get their three point shooting going thanks in large part of Trey Burke hitting back-to-back threes to open the fourth quarter. The Mavericks hit the fourth quarter running as they were able to take a 8-2 run to start the quarter as you couldn’t of ask for a better time to go on a run. The Mavericks hot start to the quarter would lead the Pacers into calling a timeout as they struggled out of the gate by only making one field goal in three minutes. The Pacers all of a sudden were allowing the Mavericks to take good looks from behind the arc and the Mavericks were able to capitalize it by banking them. The Mavericks were able to stretch their lead back to ten points as they got much needed production from Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr which forced the Pacers to take another timeout with 7:26 left in the game. Kristaps Porzingis was looking like his all-star form as he was able to take advantage of the Pacers size. The Pacers find themselves in danger of letting this game slip away as they need to generate stops on defense. The Mavericks started this quarter on 9 of 11 shooting and being perfect from behind the arc as you couldn’t of ask for better shooting performance in this quarter. With Willie Cauley-Stein making an alley oop that would give Luka Doncic another triple-double to give him 30 triple-doubles in his career. The Mavericks were inching closer to getting this to the finish line as they remain aggressive on offense on top of getting stops on defense. The Pacers found themselves losing ground as they desperately search for a scoring run. With a 12 point lead and time being in their favor, the Mavericks could afford of slowing things down and draining some clock.
This team looked so much better than last game as they were able to create good shots instead of forcing it. They were also much more aggressive in the paint and playing with confidence but they allowed the Pacers to maintain distance. The Mavericks were able to pull away from the Pacers thanks to a outstanding fourth quarter. It took them awhile but the Mavericks were able to get their three point shooting going as that would help breakaway from the Pacers. The Mavericks were able to play good defense in limiting the Pacers to go on a run. The Mavericks played like they wanted to end their losing streak.
In the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks claiming victory in this one as they defeated the Indiana Pacers 124-112. The Mavericks record improved to 7-7 on the season and able to end their three game losing streak. The Mavericks had a season high 30 assists as they were able to get everyone involved. The Mavericks starters came to play with big performances from Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. Trey Burke had himself a game off the bench by scoring 22 points on 4 of 8 shooting from behind the arc. The Mavericks leader in points would be Kristaps Porzingis as he had a double-double in 27 and 12 rebounds. 62 of the 124 points for the Mavericks came inside the paint as they continued to attack all game long. The Mavericks shot above 50% for the first time this season as they shot 52.7% on 49 of 93 shooting.
The Mavericks will hop on the plane to travel back to Texas where they will play in San Antonio to take on the Spurs on Friday. This is will be the final game as part of their three game road trip. The Mavericks will look to take a two game winning streak once they had back to Dallas.