(DALLAS, TX.) – Despite scoring 3 points in the final six minutes, the Indiana Pacers (28-35) fend off the Dallas Mavericks (32-31) by edging them out 124-122.
The first twelve minutes of the game were very solid for both teams really. Entering the game, Indiana was 26th in defensive rating and the Mavericks were 23rd, so the expectation coming in would be a high scoring game. Dallas shot better than Indiana in the first quarter, but the Pacers were finding ways to get to the foul line. The Mavs shot 57% from the field, but 1/6 from distance while the Pacers shot 45% and 3/9 from distance. The Pacers got to the foul line a dozen times in the first quarter and missed two. Myles Turner led the Pacers in the first quarter by scoring eight points. The NBA’s leading scorer in Luka Doncic came out firing on his birthday with 18 points. Dallas would lead 33-31.
Indiana really took the bull by the horns in quarter two. Jalen Smith provided meaningful minutes in their win on Saturday in Orlando with a career high five blocks and would follow up that outing with a productive second quarter. He had seven points and three boards while Turner sat with two fouls. Indiana opened the quarter on a 9-0 run to from two down, to seven up. Dallas would respond before the team would exchange the lead three times, but they would tie five times in the quarter before Indiana pulled away a little bit. With 4:16 remaining, the two teams would be tied at 51, then the Pacers would outscore them 18-8 to lead 69-59 at intermission. The birthday point guards would lead their teams in scoring. Tyrese Haliburton with 15 points and Luka with 20. Aaron Nesmith and Turner each chipped in a dozen. Dallas would struggle behind the arc shooting 21% and the Pacers would get to the line a whopping 26 times in the half along with being +8 in the rebounding margin.
Now it was only a matter of time before the Dallas Mavericks caught fire from downtown. They certainly did in the third quarter because it felt like a barrage of triples. Reggie Bullock missed both his attempts in the first half but drained all three shots he took from distance. The real turning point was an odd challenge from Jason Kidd. Just over three minutes into the quarter, the officials called an offensive foul and Luka, but it was overturned to a defensive foul on Nesmith that sent him to the bench because it was his fourth foul. Dallas would immediately go on a 11-3 run to retake the lead 79-78. Five of the first six shots Dallas made in the quarter, were threes. Dallas would go ahead 84-80, but the lead would not get any further. Indiana countered with a 10-0 run to go back up four. They’d eventually extend their lead to eight when the quarter came to a close at 107-98.
After the previous quarters where the two teams combined for at least 64 points in each quarter, the two teams would score a combined total of 42 points. It looked like the Pacers were going to run away with it because they quickly went back up by a dozen just a couple minutes into the quarter. Indiana and Dallas would exchange baskets for the next five minutes before the Pacers went ahead 121-110 with 6:11 remaining and that is when a lid went on the rim. Indiana would miss their final five shots and turn it over once. What saved the team is that Dallas would never try to tie or take the lead inside the arc. They cut their deficit to one following a Bullock triple at 121-120. After that, Dallas attempted five threes compared to one two-point shot (that was blocked) when the game was two points or less. Andrew Nembhard had a chance to ice the game for Indiana by making two free-throws up two, but he missed both. Irving attempted a three for the win but drew iron and no net. Indiana was victorious for their second consecutive road game 124-122.
TOP PERFORMERS: Tyrese Haliburton (32p, 7r, 6a), Myles Turner (24p, 7r, 4b), Jordan Nwora (16p, 3r), Luka Doncic (39p, 8r, 6a), Kyrie Irving (16p, 9a, 5r), and Tim Hardaway Jr. (16p, 4r). For tonight’s full box score, click here.
NOTES: Tyrese Haliburton registered his 5th game with 30+ points this season and 5th game this season with ZERO turnovers, Luka Doncic scored his 38th game with 30+ points, and the team shot their most free throw attempts in a game this season with 40.
NEXT: After a day off tomorrow, the Indiana Pacers will take on the San Antonio Spurs, who ended their sixteen-game losing streak with a win over the Utah Jazz. Tip-off on Thursday night is scheduled for 8:30pm eastern with the Kroger Pregame Show with Pat Boylan beginning at 8pm eastern on 93.5/107.5 The Fan.
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