Friday, November 16 at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: IND at DAL

by Scott Agness

Matchup

The Pacers will be preparing for the Mavericks, but it's going to take a look in the mirror to recover from their slow start. Shots aren't falling, they're not taking care of the ball and back-to-back stops are needed defensively. All the mistakes have the Pacers sitting at 3-6 and every player re-evaluating what he's contributing. Who is going to consistently play hard and out of their comfort zone if need be?

The Mavericks started the season with a bang, upsetting the new-look Lakers on opening night. They won four of their first five but then hit a road bump, losing their last three. On Wednesday, they defeated the winless Wizards, 107-101. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas' franchise player, is still rehabbing a right knee injury and hasn't played all season.

Friday's game in Indianapolis is a grand reunion, to say the least. Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle walked along the Pacers' sideline as head coach from 2003-07, six years after serving as an assistant to then-Indiana head coach Larry Bird. He led the Pacers to a franchise-best 61 wins in his first season. Jim O'Brien, another former Pacers coach (2007-11), is now Carlisle's top assistant. Darrell Armstrong (2006-07) is also on staff.

That's not all. In the offseason the Pacers traded Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to Dallas for center Ian Mahinmi. Just before the season tipped, the Mavs signed free agent Troy Murphy. And Gerald Green played in Dallas for 38 games during the 2008-09 season.

As fans would expect from a Carlisle/O'Brien-coached team, the Mavs love shooting from outside and are third in the NBA with a 42% three-point field goal percentage. The loose system also allows the players to have freedom to run and play as they see fit. The Mavs are fourth in the league in scoring, at 102.4 points per game, and sixth in field goal percentage (47%).

The Pacers can challenge their opponents all they want, but they're going to need to score more to win games. They are last in the league in points (87.8) and field goal percentage (39.8%), and 29th in assists (17) and steals (5.9).

The Mavs signed O.J. Mayo, a player the Pacers were reportedly interested in, over the summer. Without Nowitzki, he's been their leading scorer with 21.8 points per game. Collison's game fits the Dallas system well and he's thrived—averaging 14 points and seven assists a game.

Probable Starters

Pacers

  • C – Roy Hibbert
  • F – David West
  • F – Paul George
  • G – Lance Stephenson
  • G – George Hill

Mavs

  • C – Chris Kaman
  • F – Elton Brand
  • F – Dahntay Jones
  • G – O.J. Mayo
  • G – Darren Collison

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee)

Mavs: Dirk Nowitzki (out, right knee), Shawn Marion (day-to-day, left knee)

Quotable

"They have one of the best coaches in the league. They share the basketball and they work hard on the defensive end. They’re going to be a tough out." – Frank Vogel on the Mavericks

"We’re gonna be a different offensive team. We’re gonna move. We’re gonna be more of a cutting team, not a standing team. We’re gonna be a ball movement team, not a ball holding team... we're gonna execute our stuff better and look more like an offensive unit." – Frank Vogel on tonight’s plan

"There’s a lot of love there. There’s not a lot of bad blood; D.C. (Darren Collison) and I, Dahntay (Jones) and then (Troy) Murphy even and Coach O’Brien all remain very, very close. I’m hoping for the very best for all those guys, except for tonight." – Frank Vogel on facing so many former Pacers

"It’s always good to play your former team. I had a good time over there and we shared a lot of good memories. It’s always good to go up to an ex-teammate and coaches and say hi." – Ian Mahinmi on playing Dallas for the first time

Noteworthy

  • The Mavericks have won 10 of their last 13 games against the Pacers.
  • The Mavericks are 4-0 when scoring 100+ points.
  • George Hill, along with the Fever's Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas, invited residents of the Richmond Hill neighborhood affected by Saturday's explosion on Indy's south-side to the game, along with dinner and a postgame meet and greet.

Last Meeting

In their only meeting last season, the Pacers pulled out their first win in eight years at Dallas against the defending champion Mavericks. Paul George went off for 30 points and also had nine rebounds, five assists and five steals in a 98-87 decision. David West added 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

Dirk Nowitzki matched George's 30-point night, but the Pacers were too strong and picked up their fourth win in a row.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)

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