The Dallas Mavericks came into Sunday night’s showdown against the Indiana Pacers with an opportunity to make up some ground in the playoff race. They were only a half game back of the Thunder for the sixth seed and a game behind the Rockets for the fifth seed. Instead of the best offense in the NBA seizing this opportunity, a worse offense showed up and ultimately fumbled it. Dallas lost the lead late in the fourth after giving up eight unanswered points to the Pacers. The 112-109 loss snapped the Mavericks four-game winning streak at home.
Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. had to do the heavy lifting for the Mavs on Sunday. Doncic finished the game with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. The NBA sophomore shot 50% from the field and hit four threes, but only made six of 10 free throws. He constantly had to answer the Pacers attempts to push the lead above more than two possessions. At the end of the third, he came down and hit a step back three from the logo plus the foul to tie the game. The All-Star guard had a certain tenacity about him on Sunday. He started to catch fire after he got called for two early fouls in the first and then got hit with a flying knee to the face. Doncic shook it off and proceeded to cook the Pacers.
Tim Hardaway Jr. followed suit with 30 points. He made six three pointers and was the only one to really help take the scoring burden off of Doncic. Hardaway Jr. ran multiple pick and rolls with the Mavs bigs, something that Seth Curry would have been doing if he wouldn’t have hurt his ankle on Friday night.
The rest of the Mavs simply did not have good games. Kristaps Porzingis struggled with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. He only made 3 of his 17 attempts from the field. His biggest mistake was opting to shoot a step back three with under a minute to go that got blocked and resulted in the Mavs having to foul. Dallas was only down by one with enough time on the shot clock to make another pass. It summed up a night where it felt like KP was forcing a little too much.
The only other person to score in double digits was Justin Jackson with 11. The Mavs bench combined for 25 points to the Pacers 37 points. Overall, a rough night for the Dallas bench.
The Mavs travel to San Antonio on Tuesday to visit the Spurs before heading home to host Jokic and the Nuggets on Wednesday. Unclear if Seth Curry or Dorian Finney-Smith will be available for Tuesday’s game.
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