Final: Pacers 112, Mavs 105
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Devin Harris crossed the 9,000-point threshold. He’s the 393rd player in NBA history to reach that milestone.
The Mavs shot 66.7 percent in the fourth quarter, scoring more than 1.3 points per possession. It will be interesting to see how they continue to look for maximized space with small lineups in future games.
More than anything, the Mavs adopted a very blue-collar style in this game, doing all of the little things Rick Carlisle talks about that can separate wins from losses and good teams from great teams: things like diving on the floor, giving second and third efforts for offensive rebounds, and playing with a scrappy, feisty demeanor. That’s what it’s going to take on most nights to compete with teams like Indiana, which has a more athletic roster top to bottom and a superstar player like Paul George. The best way to negate an athletic advantage is to “ugly” the game up (like Memphis does with its “grit-and-grind” style) and play with a tough, physical edge. It’s a hard-working and humble way to go about things, but if that’s what it’s gonna take to compete on a nightly basis, then so be it.
Wesley Matthews made a couple plays that really sum up the above point. At one point in the third quarter he ripped the ball from Monta Ellis and it resulted in a Mavs dunk. Then, in the fourth, he ripped Rodney Stuckey, took the ball down the floor, and drained a three-pointer. The Mavericks must play with that type of physical, aggressive edge every single possession. It’s that time of year.
Dirk Nowitzki continued the strong run he’s been enjoying as of late. He recorded his fourth consecutive 22-plus-point game, tying his longest streak since the 2013-14 season. He finished the game with 30 points. As the pressure of the playoff push heats up, Nowitzki too has dialed up his efficiency and production, which is what you obviously hope to see from star players this time of year. Between Nowitzki’s solid play and Chandler Parsons’ prolonged run these last two months, the Mavs appear to have two 20-point scorers in the fold for the homestretch, which can only mean good things for the offense. The key is for that to translate over to the other players on any given night. Deron Williams was effective offensively in this game and Wesley Matthews was able to mix in some post-ups on the smaller Monta Ellis. But it’s become quite clear over the last week or two who the Mavs’ two undeniable go-to scorers are.
With Parsons playing more and more power forward, he’s having to guard much bigger players. This game was a good illustration of how difficult his job is defensively as of late. He spent plenty of time guarding Paul George at the 3, and then switched all the way up to center to defend Jordan Hill and sometimes Ian Mahinmi. It’s not easy sliding between all of those different positions, but Parsons has done a very good job performing on that end given the extremely demanding circumstances.
The Mavs (33-33) play the Charlotte Hornets (36-28) Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. Central.