The Mavs exposed the early signs of the current problems plaguing the Pacers when they won an outright clunker of a game, 81-73 at the Fieldhouse. Following the game the Pacers took the blame for their horrific offensive output while pointing toward their defense as doing enough to win, while their offense was apparently already off for the All-Star break.
But the Mavs remain in the playoff picture in the West thanks to their veteran coaching and players and their ability to make opponents beat them. For the most part, Dallas has struggled with strong teams and beaten those they should on the schedule. But as the Pacers found out, if a better team doesn't play like it, the Mavs will take advantage.
That makes this game a perfect opportunity for the Pacers to put all of those words of angst and frustration after the Houston game into action. They have to be on point and control the style of play to give themselves a chance to win in the end.
Here are a few links of interest with a couple of great reports from Candace Buckner and Brian Windhorst on the Pacers reaction to their loss in Houston.
For more on the Mavericks, check out Mavs Moneyball. Also, leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.