The Dallas Mavericks visited the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night to try to end their two-game losing streak. Dallas had won only 5 of their last 18 games coming into the contest, putting them at 13th in the West. The Pacers, as Dallas Sports Fanatic’s Robby Lewis pointed out, are on pace to win 55 games and have one of the best defenses in the league. The disparity between these two teams was on display as the Pacers handed the Mavs a 111-98 loss.
The Pacers honored their roots by donning their Hickory Pacers old school jerseys as a celebration of their former Hall of Fame coach Bobby Leonard. They also paid homeage to the old days by the old school beat down they handed Dallas. The Mavs came out strong but eventually Tyreke Evans, Victor Oladipo, and the rest of the Pacers woke up.
Indiana made the Dallas defense look like swiss cheese by constantly attacking the paint for close range baskets. The Pacers shot 49% from the field for 56 points in the paint. Dallas finished with 52 points in the paint while only shooting 42% from the field. Indiana’s strong defense held Dallas to 24% from the three point line, one of their worst shooting games this year. After mid-way through the second, this game was never close as Indiana lead by at least 9 points the rest of the game. Dallas also missed Dennis Smith Jr. and it was apparent on the stat sheet with a only six fast break points. DSJ has been absent from the team during a tumultuous week of trade rumors.
Luka did not have much of a feel for the game tonight. He only shot 3 for 14 from the field for 8 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds. It looked as if he might have been feeling under the weather as he seemed a step slow. Dončić missed easy layups and all five of his three points shots. His frustrations boiled over as he received a technical in the first half. In the second half Luka attempted to “dribble” the ball back to himself with his foot that resulted in the ball flying into the stands. When a player kicks or throws a ball into the stands it is an automatic technical foul. Since Luka already had a technical he was ejected, his first ejection of his young NBA career. The Mavs needed him to be able to stay in the game and this silly mistake really hurt them. Check it out below.
Luka earned his first NBA ejection after kicking the ball into the stands 😬 pic.twitter.com/Vk9hA8Nvpe
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 20, 2019
Although the game wasn’t close through much of the second half there were bright spots. Harrison Barnes, who has seen his consistency as a scorer waver over the past two weeks, scored 20 points on 6 for 15 shooting, including 3 for 5 from three. DeAndre Jordan grabbed another double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds. Jalen Brunson lead a small offensive push in the second half with 12 points on 4 assists, all after half time. Brunson’s continued development will be very important as the Mavs are without JJ Barea for the rest of the season. Mavs guard Daryl Macon also scored his first NBA points with a fast break layup in the fourth.
The Mavericks look to break their three game losing streak against the Bucks on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, at 1 PM central time.
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