Nowitzki, Harris Lead Mavs to Rout of Pacers
Dallas 102, Indiana 80
DALLAS, Dec. 26 (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks did not need any fourth-quarter magic from Dirk Nowitzki to continue their upswing.
Nowitzki scored 23 points but was on the bench for most of the fourth as the Mavericks cruised to their third straight win, a 102-80 triumph over the Indiana Pacers.
"It was kind of a weird night," said Nowitzki, who averaged 32.2 points in his previous three games against the Pacers. "Our centers were great on the boards and we got some fast breaks. There wasn't much left for me."
Jermaine O'Neal, who scored 15 points, netted the game's first basket, but it proved to be the only time the Pacers led. The Mavericks took the lead for good on a layup by Devin Harris, who added 20 points off the bench, to make it 18-16 with 2:54 left in the first.
"We kept the ball out of O'Neal's hands," Nowitzki said. "We rotated and rebounded. It was an especially defensive outing for us."
"We really focused for four quarters," Harris said. "We didn't have that big of a lapse throughout the quarters and we followed the game plan to a T tonight."
Dallas outrebounded Indiana, 49-30, including a 28-13 advantage in the first half. No player had more than four boards for the Pacers.
"Rebounds and turnovers in the first half," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "Then in the second half they came out clicking and we just weren't."
"We had our chances early to win the game," Pacers forward Austin Croshere said. "They hurt us on the offensive boards right from the beginning."
The Mavericks held a 50-41 lead at the half and did not let up in the third quarter as the team steadily pulled away.
Jerry Stackhouse showed no ill effects from a sore knee that kept him out for the first 26 games as his driving dunk over O'Neal pushed the advantage to 72-58 with 2:35 left in the third.
"Truth be told, there's nothing wrong with my left leg and that's the one I jump off of," said Stackhouse, who was playing in his first home game. "It did feel good to get out there and get in a rhythm and get knocked around a little bit."
"He looked great," Nowitzki said. "It's amazing because he missed so many games. After two games he looked like he was back to his old self. He had that amazing dunk out there. We need his aggressiveness. He really knows how to get to the line. That's very important."
Stackhouse finished with 15 points for the Mavericks, who led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter en route to their 11th win in 13 games.
"The team was in a pretty good flow, a pretty good rhythm," Stackhouse said. "To be out there and add what I do and not disrupt the continuity, that was a good feeling. It felt good to get a good win and be out there with the guys."