The Indiana Pacers took the built-in excuse of playing at the end of a long road trip to mail in their defensive effort against the Dallas Mavericks, resulting in another terrible road loss. The game’s issues were on display early when the Pacers couldn’t build any kind of lead despite hitting 10 first half three pointers and it fell apart at the end of the half, when the Mavericks used a 12-2 run (as part of a 19-2 overall run) to take the lead.
That three pointer advantage disappeared in the second half as the Mavericks took flight, hitting 10 second half three pointers, and there was no resistance on the defensive end to prevent Dallas’s looks. The Pacers coupled the poor defense with long stretches of no offense in the second half, starting with a four minute scoring drought to start the third and a two minute stretch late in the fourth when they actually made stops.
The end result was the latest “worst loss of the season” as the Pacers drop to 11-12 on the season and sit at just 6-5 against teams outside of the playoffs in their respective conference. Four of those losses are to teams that are not only out of the playoffs, but are among the five worst teams in the league. With each passing game the Pacers are going from “a team figuring things out” to simply being a poor team.
With just over four minutes left in the first half, Indiana led by eight with the ball, but a Jeff Teague turnover turned into a Monta Ellis three point foul on Wesley Matthews. Matthews hit two as part of seven points off turnovers in the 12-2 run that closed the half. Indiana committed three turnovers and shot just 1-6.
Ellis found that run at the end of the half the right time to take his first shots of the game, going 0-3 in the stretch as part of a 0 point, 0-5 shooting night with two assists and three fouls. Ellis played 22 minutes, which wasn’t a lot, but was still 14 minutes more than Glenn Robinson III, who scored six points on 2-3 shooting and a block.
The start to the second half was enough to take the entirety of the blame off of Ellis if it were squarely placed on him due to the ineptitude of the Pacers in the third quarter, but it still doesn’t erase Indiana’s Monta Ellis Problem. Robinson has made a case for minutes and even Rodney Stuckey has made a case for minutes, scoring nine and dishing eight assists.
Paul George led the way for the Pacers with 22 points, but with 13 of those coming in the first quarter alone (including all three of his three pointers), there wasn’t nearly enough from George the rest of the game. Part of that was due to the scorching shooting from C.J. Miles, who hit six three pointers and a couple of nice stretches from Al Jefferson who had 16.
But after the Mavs adjusted to Jefferson scoring three straight buckets, there was no one to pick up from there, not even George. Efficient nights weren’t enough for the Pacers, who surrendered 25 & 26 points nights to Harrison Barnes and Matthews, as the worst offensive team in the league went 15-32 from three point range, shooting 49% on the night.
The lack of defense took away from a season high 14 three pointers on just 25 attempts, and a stellar night at the line, shooting 25-26, led by Myles Turner, who was 10-10 for his 18 points. Indiana didn’t do well forcing turnovers, as the Mavericks only had nine. The Pacers had 13 turnovers, leading to 11 extra field goal attempts for the Mavericks, who cashed in with seven extra field goals despite only two less free throws.
So the Pacers stare a winning road record in the face and wilt, wrapping up 2-3 on the road and heading home to face the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back, in which the Pacers are still winless.