After a strong start, the Pacers appeared to flash a familiar and troubling disposition in the second half, as Dallas made things tough for the Pacers on the offensive end. It was the type of game that could slip away on the road if the effort and execution didn't come together.
Well, no worries. The effort and execution by the Pacers in the third quarter was off the charts as they turned a tie game at the break to a 15-point lead midway through the quarter. Paul George lifted his game on the offensive end, scoring 13 of his game-high 24 points in the third to give the Pacers a 17-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
With the second unit on the floor, the Mavs made a quick run to cut the lead to 10 and create a little, uh-oh time for the Pacers. But this time around, the fourth quarter would not be the Pacers downfall. A beautiful, spinning, left-handed layup by George put the Pacers back up by 14 and then Roy Hibbert went to work in the middle.
On four straight trips, Hibbert was fouled while taking advantage of his size around the rim. The big fella made six of eight free throws to push the lead to 18. From there Tyler Hansbrough stepped in to kill the Mavs' will and close out the game with his relentless effort, and capped off the Pacers run to put away the Mavs with a little flare.
Hansbrough was caught on the perimeter guarding Anthony Morrow. No problem, Hans simply stripped Morrow of the ball and then started heading the other way with the ball with no thoughts about pulling up. Instead, Hans gathered himself with a little Euro step before dropping the ball off to Orlando Johnson for a layup.
Boom! 20 points lead, Mavs' barber was free to go because there would be no .500 beard shave on this night.
With Danny Granger's situation settled, the Pacers have their playing rotation set for the duration of the season with the playing rotation and roles established. David West returned to the lineup for 28 minutes of burn but still has to work his way back into his beast-mode rhythm. That will come, though and if this team can continue to build on these two wins, they'll be in good position to take their best shot in the playoffs.
Really, can't say enough about the back-to-back efforts by the Pacers to bury the road demons and make a statement heading into April.