Recap: Mavericks 83 at Pacers 103; Indy tops Mavs in Marion's return
Earl K. Sneed reports from Indianapolis, where the Dallas Mavericks lost a fourth straight road game despite the return of four-time All-Star Shawn Marion.
Recap: Mavericks 83 at Pacers 103; Indy tops Mavs in Marion's return
INDIANAPOLIS — It appeared to be just the what the doctor ordered.
After going just 2-3 without their defensive catalyst and starter at small forward, four-time All-Star Shawn Marion seemed to be the perfect remedy for the Dallas Mavericks as he returned to the lineup right in time for the start of a two-game road trip. And with Marion back in action after missing five games due to a sprained left MCL, the Mavericks lacked only 11-time All-Star power forward Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) as they attempted to build off a 107-101 win at home over winless Washington on Wednesday night to end a three-game losing streak.
Stepping into Bankers Life Fieldhouse to tangle with a struggling Indiana Pacers team as it plays without former All-Star forward Danny Granger (left knee) and hoping to begin a back-to-back victoriously before moving on to Cleveland, Marion and the Mavs also tried to bring an end to a three-game skid on the road. And although they weren’t quite at full strength without Nowitzki, the Mavs went in search of a quality road win with nearly all of their key contributors available.
Still, even with Marion back on the hardwood, the Mavericks (5-5) couldn’t find a cure for their up-and-down play. And after falling for a fourth straight time on the road, 103-83,the Mavs began their daunting back-to-back on a sour note.
“This is frustrating right now,” Marion confessed after the loss.
"We've got to get consistency out there and we've all got to take accountability for what we're doing on both ends of the floor," he added. "Right now, it seems like our trust is not where it should be and we're not helping each other the way we should be helping each other. We've gotta get back to doing that."
Sliding back into the starting lineup, Marion joined the front line of power forward Elton Brand and center Chris Kaman, alongside the backcourt of point guard Darren Collison and 2-guard O.J. Mayo. Meanwhile, Collison and reserve forward Dahntay Jones lined up to play against their former team, after joining the Mavs this offseason via a sign-and-trade deal with Indiana for big man Ian Mahinmi.
But, while the Mavs began the game missing their first four shots of the night, the Pacers (4-6) quickly sprinted to a 7-0 start before Mayo’s 3 got the Mavs on the board. The long-range bomb would settle the visiting squad down, however, before the Mavs took the lead a short time later with a 15-4 run.
And led by eight-time All-Star Vince Carter off the bench, the Mavs find themselves tied with the Pacers at 24-all after one quarter of play.
Hoping to make an impact against his former team, an aggressive Mahinmi would be forced to sit early in the second stanza with foul trouble. At the same time, Mayo began to heat up from the outside, continuing his early-season assault from behind the 3-point arc.
Backup big man Brandan Wright also returned to the court after going from a starter to not seeing action in the Washington game, giving the Mavs a lift with his athleticism. The Mavs then headed to the locker room with a 49-48 advantage, as Mayo’s 12 points and Carter’s 10 points off the bench led the way.
With Mayo and Carter combining to shoot 6-of-10, the Mavs held the slight advantage despite hitting just 44.4 percent from the field through two quarters compared to Indiana’s 54.1 percent. The Mavs also held a 22-15 rebounding advantage to make up for the Pacers’ hot shooting and a 22-12 margin in points in the paint.
"We put ourselves in a good position in the first half. We were playing good ball ... and we stopped everything in the second half. We completely stopped everything from the first half in the second half. We just can't sustain a good 48 minutes," Marion would later say.
After a brief back and forth of stagnant possessions, the Pacers' defense would settle down as the second half got underway, slowing the Mavs' scoring to a pedestrian pace in the third quarter. And despite a highlight reel and-one score by Mayo in the lane midway through the quarter, the Pacers surged in front by double digits thanks to the long-range shooting of swingman Lance Stephenson, before eventually putting the Mavs in a 76-67 hole heading to the fourth.
"Well, a lot of things happened," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the third period. "We had miscues, Indiana capitalized on it, we didn't respond well to it and the game got away from us. ... I think their collective will was stronger than ours, and after a really encouraging first half and a couple of minutes in the third quarter, it went the other way."
"Lance had a couple of transition buckets and he had a transition 3 that kind of opened the game up. I mean, all around they just played a good team game," Collison added. "I think the first five minutes of the third quarter is when it got away from us. ... It kind of gave them confidence. They were a team that was struggling on offense and they seemed to get it right at the right moment against us."
Led by the inside presence and hustle play of rookie Bernard James, the Mavericks began the final 12 minutes of play hoping to muster up a comeback attempt. But timely scores by the Pacers continued to keep the Mavericks at bay after the home team went ahead as much as 22. Carlisle then conceded by pulling his backcourt of Collison and Mayo with 4:27 left as the Dallas reserves finished out the loss.
Leading the way for the Mavericks in a losing cause was Mayo, who finished with 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting and 2-for-3 from behind the arc. Off the bench, Carter added 10 points, while Collison returned to Indianapolis to score 10 points on just 3-of-10 from the field during a turnover-free night.
In his return, Marion played slightly over 25 minutes, scoring just two points on 1-of-5 shooting and snatching down seven rebounds.
“I think now with Matrix [Marion] back it’s gonna help us a little bit, when he gets himself back where he’s in game shape and game speed and everything. But it’s gonna take a full collective effort to win these games, ’cause not one player can do it. We don’t have that guy. You know, Dirk’s out right now,” Kaman explained.
Vice versa, George Hill and David West led six Pacers in double figures with 15 points apiece, helping Indiana outshoot the Mavs on the night, 47 percent to 37 percent. And despite Kaman's 10 rebounds, the Pacers also held a 46-44 rebounding edge at the end of four quarters of play, coupled with 15 points off Dallas' 12 turnovers.
The Mavs will now head to Cleveland on the second night of a back-to-back, as they get set for a battle against the Cavaliers. The game will air locally at 6:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest.
“Leave it in the past and worry about the next game,” Collison concluded. “There’s no point in soaking about the last game. We’ve got a tough one tomorrow in Cleveland, so we’ve just gotta leave it in the past and try to get this win. You know, road wins don’t come easy, but we’ll be alright.”