The 37-point fourth quarter barrage the Dallas Mavericks used to finish off the Indiana Pacers had actually been in the works all night. In a sense, it just happened to be Charlie Villanueva and Gal Mekel that dealt the deciding blow given the opportunities Dallas had all night to turn a back and forth game into a doubtless win for the Mavericks. Villanueva and Mekel used a 12-0 run on three pointers to put Dallas ahead for good, scoring 27 combined points in the fourth quarter as Indiana's luck ran out, resulting in their second straight preseason loss.
The Pacers led 84-83 before the 12-0 run, with the Pacers benefiting from poor Dallas shooting for most of the night and their own quality shooting to cover up all of the glaring issues Indiana had throughout the night. The Pacers opted to rest George Hill and Roy Hibbert, and their absence was felt early and often, especially on the defensive end of the floor, where Dallas had very little resistance in the paint and on the glass.
The Mavericks thrived early on points in the paint and second chance opportunities while hot shooting from three point range was able to prop Indiana up. Aside from a typical shooting lull in the second quarter fueled by Indiana's second unit of Ian Mahinmi, Luis Scola, Solomon Hill, and C.J. Watson, Indiana shot the ball relatively well at 48.6% for the night, but despite that, Indiana had 18 less field goal attempts than the Mavericks, who warmed up to 45% after shooting under 40% for much of the night.
The gap in field goal attempts were decided in two areas; turnovers and rebounding. Indiana had 19 turnovers on the night, leading to 24 Dallas points, giving them an 11-point advantage in points off turnovers. As if giving up points off turnovers wasn't bad enough, the Pacers also were dominated on the glass by a 48-36 margin, including a 15-3 disadvantage on the offensive glass.
It wasn't until the tail end of the second quarter before Lavoy Allen followed up a Donald Sloan miss with the team's first offensive rebound (and second chance point) of the night. In fact, both teams did a great job hurting themselves as Indiana was able to give themselves opportunities to win thanks to the poor Mavericks shooting and their 12-26 effort from the free throw line.
But it was also a game that was going to be decided by the team that cleaned up their act first, and the onslaught from Villanueva and Mekel proved to be that difference tonight. Indiana did get a solid effort from C.J. Miles, who had a game high 19 on 7-13 shooting, including three three pointers. Miles's ability to score is going to need to be an asset for Indiana if they struggle to find points, especially from three point range, where Indiana more or less lived and died tonight. Watson led the Pacers off the bench with 16 points, three of his four three pointers coming in the second half.
The Pacers didn't come out with a full 48 minute game tonight and it turned a potential late win into a rather sizable loss. Indiana's margin of error was much thinner than it's expected to be with Hill and Hibbert each sitting, but as a team period, their margin of error will be much thinner anyway. If the Pacers aren't the smarter team in terms of ball control and rotations, games like tonight are going to be rather commonplace.
Indiana will have a couple of days off before they travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at Xavier University, where David West spent his college days. It will mark the first telecast of the season for the Pacers, airing on both Fox Sports Indiana and NBA TV.