THE FACTS: The Dallas Mavericks were hoping for a close shave Thursday. Instead they got sliced apart by the Indiana Pacers, 103-78, at the American Airlines Center. Paul George scored 24 points and Roy Hibbert added 16 points and 11 rebounds to power the Pacers (46-27) to their third consecutive win and sixth in seven games.
The lopsided loss prevented the Mavericks (35-37) from reaching the .500 mark for the first time since mid-December, an achievement that would have allowed lumberjack lookalikes Dirk Nowitzki, O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand, Vince Carter and Chris Kaman to trim their so-called ".500 beards." More importantly, Dallas failed to gain any ground on the Lakers (37-36) or Jazz (36-36) in the battle for the eighth seed in the West. Nowitzki was the only Dallas starter in double figures with 21 points.
QUOTABLE: "I think he's, right now, approaching being a top 12 or 15 player in this league, which means he's a top 12 or 15 player in the world. I think he's that good."
-- Dallas coach Rick Carlisle on George, who was 10-for-17 and added eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
THE STAT: The Pacers are 31-6 when holding opponents under 90 points (14-1 under 80 points). The Mavericks are 0-10 when scoring fewer than 90 points, although this was their first such game since Feb. 27 and just their second since Dec. 30.
TURNING POINT: Indiana broke open a 41-41 halftime tie by doubling up Dallas in the third. The Pacers scored twice as many points (34-17) and grabbed twice as many rebounds (12-6) in the quarter. They also shot 70 percent (14-for-20) and held the Mavericks to 35 percent (7-for-20).
QUOTABLE II: "Show up."
-- Mavericks forward Shawn Marion on what adjustment Dallas has to make before Saturday's game against Chicago.
QUOTABLE III: "Paul George played like an All-Star. Great win."
-- Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
HOT: The Pacers knocked down 13 of their first 15 shots in the second half, with George scoring 13 points and capping that stretch with a 3-pointer for a 72-54 lead with 2:38 left in the third.
NOT: Nowitzki was 4-for-6 in the first quarter, but the rest of the Mavericks were a combined 4-for-17. ... The starting Dallas backcourt of Mayo and Mike James were a combined 3-for-17 in the game with three turnovers.
BAD MOVE: After missing Tuesday's win against the Clippers (coach's decision), center Kaman may have moved even deeper into the Dallas doghouse. In just 3:57 off the bench, he picked up two personal fouls and one technical foul and was a minus-11.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: After missing six games with a sprained lower back, Pacers forward David West returned to the starting lineup with seven points, seven rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes. He was 3-for-8 from the field and 1-for-4 at the line.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Backup Indiana center Ian Mahinmi received a warm reception from the crowd in Dallas, where he played from 2010-12 and helped the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA title.
ROOKIE WATCH: Orlando Johnson had 12 points, four rebounds and three assists off the Indiana bench and was 2-for-5 from behind the arc.
NOTABLE: The Pacers announced Thursday that forward Danny Granger will miss the remainder of the season to undergo surgery on his left knee. "The decision was made after all conservative treatment options could not alleviate the soreness," team officials said in a statement. The former All-Star and NBA Most Improved Player appeared in just five games this season, scoring 27 points. He is expected to be ready for training camp. ... Indiana is 13-7 on the second night of a back-to-back. ... The Pacers are 4-1 on the road against the Southwest Division. ... Former Pacer Darren Collison had 10 points and eight assists off the bench against his old team. ... Indiana is 25-5 when opponents shoot less than 40 percent from the field. ... Former NBA D-League MVP Justin Dentmon made his Dallas debut, playing 3:26 in mop-up time. ... The Pacers dominated the glass, 55-34, and outscored the Mavericks by a 50-34 margin in the paint.
UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Saturday vs. Chicago, Tuesday @ L.A. Lakers, Thursday @ Denver. For the Pacers, Saturday @ Phoenix, Monday @ L.A. Clippers, April 5 vs. Oklahoma City.