Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Mavericks
SCOUTING THE PACERS: The Pacers (15-20) are coming off a 111-103 victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday that snapped a nine-game road losing streak. Danny Granger had 27 points and Darren Collison added 21 points and 13 assists for Indiana, which shot 51.1 percent and scored in triple digits for the first time in 10 games. The Pacers, who won for just the fourth time in 14 contests, had averaged 90.0 points on 39.6 percent shooting in going 1-6 in their previous seven. Mike Dunleavy also scored 20, 18 in the first half. The Pacers, who are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference despite being five games below .500, now try to win back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 28 and 30. They've lost five in a row to the Mavericks, last winning 111-107 on Nov. 23, 2007 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS: Expected to play an eighth straight game without Dirk Nowitzki, the banged-up Mavericks try to avoid losing for the sixth time since their star went down Wednesday night when they open a seemingly favorable four-game road trip against the Pacers. Nowitzki is still listed as day-to-day with a knee injury, but he is unlikely to suit up against the Pacers after being limited in Tuesday's practice. The nine-time All-Star was hurt on Dec. 27 in a win over Oklahoma City, and Dallas (26-10) has lost five of seven since after winning 17 of its previous 18. Making matters worse, the Mavericks are also without No. 3 scorer Caron Butler, who is likely done for the season because of a torn tendon in his right knee. Although Dallas is playing without the duo's combined average of 39.1 points, coach Rick Carlisle has been stressing that the team still has a chance if it plays tough defense. The Mavericks didn't adhere to that advice Saturday against Orlando, allowing an opponent season high in points in a 117-107 loss. DeShawn Stevenson again stepped up offensively for the Mavericks against the Magic, finishing with a season-high 24 points. He is averaging 19.3 points on 48.0 percent shooting in his last four games after averaging 4.3 points on 29.4 percent shooting in his previous three. Still, Dallas has dropped five games behind Southwest Division-leading San Antonio after being 1 1/2 out at the time of Nowitzki's injury. The Mavericks face the NBA-best Spurs on Friday, which appears to be the most challenging stop on an otherwise non-threatening trip. After visiting San Antonio, Dallas - a league-best 12-2 on the road - plays at Memphis on Saturday and Detroit on Monday. The Pacers, Grizzlies and Pistons are a combined 44-66.
INJURY REPORT: The Pacers are healthy. For the Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki (sprained right knee) is day-to-day, and Caron Butler (ruptured right patellar tendon) and Rodrigue Beaubois (fractured left foot) are out.
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BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 6:30. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee handling the sideline and pre-game duties.
CHAT: You can chat live with other fans around the country while monitoring Twitter posts from Pacers' celebrities on-site throughout the game.