For awhile, it didn't seem like either team would desrve to win this one.
The final buzzer never sounded so sweet.
The tone for this game was set early when both teams shared a barrage of rim clanking perimeter shots followed by a near-epidemic case of sloppy ball handling and passing.
I don't have the numbers to back me up, but I'm quite sure that the Mavs and Pacers combined to have more passes deflected or stolen in the first half than they had shots made. It was ugly, OK. Even Mavs' owner Mark Cuban found the play unpalatable at the half complaining to Clark Kellogg and Chris Denari at the half that his game at the gym earlier in the day wasn't as ugly as the first half.
Danny Granger wasn't with the Pacers in Dallas due to personal issues, and once the Mavs established a double-digit lead, no one in blue and gold had enough offense going to spark a comeback. The Mavs almost seemed disinterested in the game during the first half, but Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki jump-started the offense in the third quarter combining for nine of the Mavs' 15 early points which pushed the 8-point halftime lead to 16.
T.J. Ford appeared to be the Pacers only hope to spark a comeback, but he couldn't get it going in the second half scoring just four points and appearing to strain his groin again in the process. It was that kind of night. And believe me, this wasn't a defensive battle either. The defensive numbers may look good, but those numbers are a direct result of sloppy play and poor shooting.
Just one of those games.
More thoughts on the game after the jump:
- I even jinxed Roy Hibbert into early foul trouble and a forgettable night against Brendan Haywood. Early fouls kept Hibbert tethered to the bench and his play in the post was sloppy at times. I figured he'd foul out for sure but was able to make it through the second half with only one foul. Still his 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks weren't much help.
- Haywood had a nice game and looks to be a great fit in the middle for the Mavs. Someone had to grab all of those missed shots and Haywood snared his fair share, tying his career-high by hauling in 20 rebounds.
- Neither team had a starter in double-figures until Dirk Nowitzki reached 10 points with 8 minutes left in the third quarter. The Pacers didn't have a starter reach that mark until Troy Murphy scored his 10th and final points of the game in the fourth quarter. T.J. Ford led the team in scoring with 14. Yep, just one of those games.
- Solo Jones and Josh McRoberts continued to squeeze some burn out of JOB and both played more than usual thanks to Hibbert's foul problems. McRoberts hooked up a couple of times with Mike Dunleavy, converting nice passes for easy buckets at the rim.
- The large deficit and Ford's ailing groin gave A.J. Price some extended garbage time minutes in the fourth quarter. Price played it well with 8 points.
- The Pacers' case of the clanks didn't keep them from shooting threes. On the night, they were an abysmal 3 of 23 from 3-land. While Troy Murphy scratched out a 10 and 11 double-double, he drew a lot of iron in the process missing all six of his 3-ball attempts.