Monday, March 27 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Game Recap: Mavericks 127, Pacers 104
In a Monday night matchup between two teams clinging on to postseason hopes, a short-staffed Indiana Pacers squad couldn’t slow down the team in town from the Lone Star State.
The Dallas Mavericks (37-39) used a pair of big runs in the second and third quarters to create a 25-point buffer going into the final frame, and the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving combined for 41 total points, in a 127-104 win over the Pacers (33-42) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Going into the game, Indiana was 3.5 games back from the 10th place Chicago Bulls, who were scheduled to play the Los Angeles Clippers late on Monday night, in the Eastern Conference. Just six games remain on the Pacers’ schedule.
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Indiana’s top three scorers this season did not take the floor due to injuries an illness.
The Pacers played without Tyrese Haliburton (right ankle) and Myles Turner (sore left ankle and lower back) – who were both ruled out due to injury management before the tip – and Buddy Hield (non-COVID illness) and Chris Duarte (left ankle soreness), who were announced out earlier in afternoon.
Doncic finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 28 minutes of play and Irving had 16 points, six assists and three boards. Jaden Hardy had a big night off the bench for the Mavericks, scoring 20 points.
For the Pacers, rookie Bennedict Mathurin led the charge with 26 points while fellow first-year man Andrew Nembhard scored 17 points to go with five rebounds and five assists. Off the bench, T.J. McConnell had 15 points for the Blue & Gold.
By making two 3-pointers in the game, Mathurin tied the Pacers franchise rookie record for 3-pointers made in a season (94) set by Duarte during the 2021-2022 campaign.
Overall, the Mavericks were 47-for-83 (18-for-37 3-point) from the field and the Pacers shot 39-for-93 (8-for-28 3-point). Dallas’ bench outscored Indiana’s reserves 58-33.
“We needed to compete better in this game,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “The first quarter was OK. The second quarter, they just got going – and they’ve got some real firepower. We just needed to have more resistance. It’s tough.”
In the first six minutes of action, the Pacers used 5-0 and 6-0 scoring bursts to establish an early 11-7 lead. With five minutes left in the first quarter, the Pacers collected five offensive rebounds in nine seconds before Isaiah Jackson was able to get the ball to go through the hoop and put the Pacers up 19-14.
Sparked by a 3-pointer from Tim Hardaway Jr., the Mavericks responded with a 9-2 run to retake the lead at 23-21 with two minutes on the clock.
After tying three times, an Irving fadeaway jump shot gave the Mavericks a 29-27 advantage at the end of the first frame.
The Pacers held Doncic to just two points on 1-for-5 shooting in the first 12 minutes, but Irving carried the load for both of them, scoring 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting.
Dallas came out on fire to start the second quarter, as the visitors went on a 14-2 scoring spree, on 3-pointers by Irving and Hardy, and and-one conversion by JaVale McGee, to lead 43-29 with 8:28 left in the first half.
Indiana’s offense finally got going midway through the second quarter, as the team was able to narrow the score to 51-39 thanks to an 8-0 run.
Doncic then got going for Dallas, scoring seven straight points to boost the lead to 55-37, before the Mavericks took a 12-point advantage into the locker room at 59-47.
Out of the break, Jalen Smith hit a 3-pointer for Indiana before Dallas scored eight unanswered points on 3-pointers by Reggie Bullock. A basket by Doncic and a second trey by Bullock then pushed the lead to 72-52 with 7:53 left in the third quarter.
The Pacers went on a 10-3 run midway through the third quarter, as Mathurin drilled back-to-back 3-pointers, and Jordan Nwora and Nembhard each got treys to fall, to make it 86-72 with 2:48 on the clock.
But the Mavericks answered again.
A 10-0 Dallas run, with seven points coming from Doncic in the final 1:44 of the third quarter, put the Mavericks ahead 99-74 going into the fourth quarter.
Indiana never got within reach in the last quarter, as the Mavericks led by as many as 31 points in the final frame. Dallas emptied its bench midway through the period.
The Pacers will host the No. 1 team in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks, on Wednesday.
“This is all valuable, even the painful stuff,” Carlisle said. “And a lot of times the painful stuff is the stuff that stimulates growth.”
Inside the Numbers
Indiana outrebounded Dallas 43-33, including 14-4 in offensive boards.
Both teams had 13 turnovers.
The Mavericks outscored the Pacers 48-40 in the paint.
There were four lead changes and five ties in the game.
Jackson pulled down a season-high 12 rebounds and career-high nine boards.
Postgame Media Availability: March 27, 2023
You Can Quote Me On That
“There’s the system, and there's individual defense and there's a gameplan. We had some game plan stuff going tonight that is unique because Luka is such a unique player. First half, some of it was effective and then some of it wasn't. We’ve got to kind of look at those three buckets and make evaluations. So we'll do that and look to get better.” -- Carlisle on the defense
“It's not about whether Benn Mathurin can go out and score points. He’s got to learn about the responsibility of being a starter, guarding a top player and carrying a scoring load – and what it means to do both. The first 65 games of the season weren't like that, he was coming off the bench playing against a lot of second unit guys. This is different, and this is a great opportunity for him. Tonight, he did some good things … and there's gonna be some things that we need to help him correct. But the aggression is there. A lot of his reads were much better. We’ve got to build on the good things and correct for the others.” -- Carlisle on Mathurin growing
“When you get beat by 25 to 30, it doesn't feel like there's a lot of value. But guys are learning and they're finding out what it's about. I used the term in the pregame, ‘you're sitting at the grownups table’ when you get put in this position, and when you learn what it's like to carry this kind of load. Some young players, they thrive for that — they crave that.” -- Carlisle on young players developing
“I love him. I think he's a guy that should have been a top 10 pick in the draft, and every night he keeps proving me right about that. He doesn't get satisfied by a couple of good performances. He's a student of the game. He loves to play, he loves to compete. He values the opportunity to help teammates. Those are things that make Indiana basketball unique, and that's why he fits in perfectly here.” – Carlisle on Nembhard
"He’s one of the very, very best players in the world, and he proved that again tonight. He does it in a way that makes the game look easy. And that's one of the many things that makes him a special player.” -- Carlisle on Doncic
“I consider myself a scorer and I'm just looking forward to helping my teammates. (Trying) to make the game a little bit easier for them and trying to improve every single day.” – Mathurin on some of his goals in the final six games
“It definitely affects the locker room. Buddy is a guy who talks a lot and has a lot of energy. Not having him tonight took off a lot of energy. It's great having guys like that on the team. It basically shows that he's willing to work, come to work every single day and be 100%.” Mathurin on Hield being out
“They have a lot of talent over there. We tried different gameplans to get it out of their hands and mix it up a little. They had a lot of guys that could fill it up” -- Nembhard on the loss
“I think this is a good learning experience for guys. A good opportunity for guys to get better.” -- Nembhard on other players having bigger roles with key players out
Stat of the Night
Mathurin finished with two 3-pointers, tying the Pacers franchise rookie record (94) for makes from deep in a season. He is currently tied with Duarte, who set the record last season.
- Hield didn’t suit up for the Blue & Gold due to a non-COVID illness. Since being drafted in 2016, Hield has now missed just five games total in his NBA career. One of those games was due to being traded to the Pacers during the 2021-2022 season.
- Doncic was not initially expected to play against the Pacers, as he was issued his 16th technical foul of the season on Sunday at the Charlotte Hornets. On Monday, however, the league rescinded the tech which resulted in him not having to serve a one-game suspension.
- Pacers coach Rick Carlisle was the head coach of the Mavericks from 2008 to 2021. He led the team to a championship in 2011.
The Pacers continue their homestand by welcoming Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Wednesday, March 29 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>