When the buzzer sounded on the Mavericks’ 132-105 victory over Indiana Saturday night at American Airlines Center, Rick Carlisle spent several minutes hugging, glad-handing and smiling with a lot of Mavericks’ players, coaches and support personnel.

Inside, he was not happy with the outcome of the game. But coming back to Dallas, with the tribute video before the game and the huge ovation he received when he was announced, it was a festive night for Carlisle filled with emotion.

But enough about that.

The Mavericks did what they were supposed to do. They took care of business against a lottery-bound team that had won in overtime the night before in Oklahoma City.

So that’s what our takeaways focus on as the Mavericks bumped their record to 29-21 going into Sunday evening’s game at Orlando (6 p.m. tipoff).

REGGIE ON THE RISE: Jason Kidd has said that the Mavericks are going to rely on a committee to take up the slack left by the departure of Tim Hardaway Jr., who is out for at least a couple months with a broken foot (more information is coming this week, Kidd assured). But Reggie Bullock looked like the chairman of that committee against the Pacers. He poured in a season-best 23 points – all in the second and third quarters, when the Mavericks put away the game. “Shooter’s mentality and the ball was going in the basket,” Kidd said of Bullock’s outing. “Sometimes it can get complicated. He’s playing at a high level on both ends. He understands what we’re asking.” Since returning from his bout with COVID-19 on New Year’s Eve, Bullock has averaged 7.9 points and shot 40 percent from 3-point land. That’s exactly the  kind of production that they are going to need and it should get even better with Hardaway’s minutes to spread around.

PORZINGIS KNEE A CONCERN: Several reports indicated that Kristaps Porzingis will not be in Orlando for Sunday night’s game against the Mavericks. The 7-3 Porzingis played 11 minutes against the Pacers, then left with right knee soreness. He had meniscus surgery on that knee in 2020, but did not have any significant problems with it since. Luka Dončić said after the game that Porzingis was a little concerned about the knee. The hope, obviously, is that it’s nothing serious and won’t cause a long-term absence. Stay tuned.

LUKA, MEANWHILE, FEELING PERKY: After the game, Carlisle said it looked to him like Dončić was moving better than he has during most of his career. And while Luka said he will continue to fight soreness in both ankles – and hinted they might need fixing in the offseason – he also said he’s in a good spot physically. “I feel way better,” he said. “Obviously, not 100 percent with my ankles and everything. But we’re getting there. I feel way better. I think you can see that on the defensive end.”

VIDEO GOT TO EVERYBODY: Carlisle shed a few tears during the emotional video of him and his 13 years as Mavericks’ coach before the tipoff. It got to others, too. “The tribute video was very emotional,” said Maxi Kleber, who played his first four seasons under Carlisle. “You could tell in his eyes. And for everybody who played for him. Such an amazing story.”

STRONG NUMBERS: The Mavericks had 31 assists, which is a great number. The Mavericks are 16-4 when they have 25 or more helpers. Similarly, they had just five turnovers against the Pacers, one off of their season low. They are 5-2 when they have fewer than 10 turnovers. Oh, and by the way, the birthday boy, Maxi Kleber, had 15 points and a career-best-tying 14 rebounds, not a bad way to blow out the candles.

Twitter: @ESefko

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