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After losing two of their last three games and really struggling to generate any offense against Dallas, the Pacers will have to spend the All-Star break with the lingering effects of another bad effort before the break.
The Pacers offense froze out their options for winning with a lethal combination of a season-worst shooting performance and enough mental mistakes to last them through the end of the month.
The Mavericks arrived at the Fieldhouse as a prideful, veteran group looking to bounce back from their own embarrassing effort the night before. This was never going to be an easy game, but the Pacers simply made it impossible to win.
In hindsight, it is still hard to believe the Pacers were still in position to win late in the fourth quarter. After giving up the lead early in the quarter and falling behind the Pacers couldn't get out of their own way to actually go for the win. Any "winning time" effort needs more than five makes on 18 shots and seven turnovers.
When Paul George closed the game to three points with 36 second left, Lance Stephenson inexplicably fouled immediately to give Monta Ellis two more free throws. It wasn't a cheap foul, either but a blatant hack that appeared to suck the energy out of the whole team.
So now the Pacers have to pack some extra frustrations to take with them for their brief All-Star break vacation over the weekend. Hopefully, Roy Hibbert and Paul George will find their groove while immersed with the other All-Star talent this weekend because they haven't performed near that level of late as they head into the break.
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