As everything off the court continues to draw considerable attention, the Indiana Pacers quietly kept the good times on the court rolling, closing out the Dallas Mavericks in Winning Time to pick up their third straight win. The Pacers finished the game on a 16-4 run, sinking the dagger on back-to-back triples from Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert.
For the latter, buckets were an all night affair. LeVert finished one point off of his season high, scoring 26 on 11-23 shooting, including four three pointers in the process. For Brogdon, however, his three in response to a pair of last gasp shots from Kristaps Porzingis was the first since the end of the first quarter as he and Chris Duarte struggled all night to put the ball in the basket.
Fortunately for the Pacers, the contributions weren’t shorthanded, even if only four players reached double figures. After a bit of a slow start, trailing 26-22 after one, the Pacers opened up the second quarter hitting their first nine shots, back-to-back threes from LeVert and Kelan Martin giving Indiana an eight-point advantage midway through the quarter.
From there, the offense began to get a bit stiff, missing 10 of their next 12 shots as Dallas came all the way back to go up 54-53. On Indiana’s final possession of the half, Myles Turner fought with Dorian Finney-Smith on a rebound, forcing a jump ball he would win. That particular victory set up Turner at the top of the key for a go-ahead three pointer, putting the Pacers on top at the break.
In the third, the Pacers once again would build a lead, this time peaking at six at 73-67, but another rough stretch on the offensive end would open the door for the Mavericks to take the lead, jumping ahead by five with 1:15 remaining. Just as the Pacers did to close the second, they stepped up to finish out the third, getting a pair of buckets from LeVert and Domantas Sabonis, once again finishing off with a final shot three, this time by LeVert to give Indiana the 82-80 edge heading into the fourth.
The Pacers pushed their lead out to seven to open the final period, getting there on emphatic second chance opportunities from Oshae Brissett and Martin. The Mavs would erase that lead in just three possessions, but found some breathing room on a much needed Martin three.
Luka Doncic scored on the other end and Dallas had a very real opportunity to regain the lead, pulling in two offensive rebounds on a single possession before the Pacers finally forced the stop. Brogdon attacked the rim, getting the first of his two late game layups as the Pacers embarked on their game sealing 16-4 run.
The Pacers held Dallas to just 13 fourth quarter points, including 1-10 from three point range. The Mavericks were abysmal from deep all night, finishing the game 4-29. The Pacers, meanwhile, made 13 themselves, staying at 36% for the night despite a much heavier volume of threes compared to their last two games.
In addition to LeVert’s big night (complete with the kind of timely shot making the Pacers have been looking for), they also got excellent performances from both Sabonis and Turner. Sabonis scored 24 points and had 10 rebounds, going 9-13 from the field and even hitting a three. Turner meanwhile had his own double double of 17 & 10, hitting three from deep and getting a fantastic block at the end of the game against Porzingis to bring the crowd to an ovation.
Despite Brogdon’s shooting struggles, he would score seven in the fourth as part of Indiana’s closing run, working around what was otherwise a dreadful night shooting for him. He finished just 5-15 from the floor after staring 2-10, which is the same kind of night Duarte put forth, missing on all five of his attempts, though he did pick up a nice highlight against Doncic in the first half.
Once again, the starters also posted big nights in the assist category. The Pacers had 28 as a team, 22 of those coming from the starters. Brogdon led the way with eight, followed by seven from Sabonis and five from LeVert. Off the bench, the Pacers were led by Brissett and Martin, combining for 17 points and 3-5 from three point range.
The scoring was a welcome touch, but it was all about effort from those two, especially with Brissett, who was perfect at 4-4. The plays he made throughout the game created opportunities for the Pacers, especially in regards to the putbacks he and Martin had early in the fourth quarter.
Indiana completes their best week of the season at 3-0, finally taking advantage of their homestand and a trio of teams who have all had recent struggles. They improve to 12-16 on the year, which gets them into a tie for 11th in the win column, though the extra two losses favor both Toronto and New York in that regard.
They’ll wrap up their six game homestand on Monday, hosting the league best Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry is on a quest to break the all-time three point record, which may line up for Monday night’s game unless he rests leading up to a Tuesday night matchup with New York. With or without Curry, it will be a big test for Indiana as they hope to continue to build on the success of the past week.