Pacers vs Mavericks

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Game Preview: Pacers vs Mavericks

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Greg Rappaport
Pacers.com Writer
@Greg_Rappaport

Matchup

Following a dispiriting loss to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, the Pacers have little time to dwell on the defeat as they travel back to Indianapolis for a Wednesday meeting with the Dallas Mavericks.

The defeat was essentially a Murphy's law night for the Blue & Gold, who were beat in almost every statistical category. What started the loss, however, was a problem that has surfaced for Indiana over the past months. While the team's 19-15 record may not reflect it, Indiana has spent the first half falling behind to teams, often needing improbable comebacks to win games.

Tuesday's game was no exception, with the Pistons opening the game scorching on offense, winning the first quarter 40-19.

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While Indiana's comebacks against recent opponents such as the Nets, Hawks, and Nuggets have been impressive, the trend isn't a sustainable one for the Blue & Gold, who are looking for answers as to why their starts to games have been sluggish of late.

"We're going to have to be better," said Pacers head coach Nate McMillan after the loss to Detroit. "We might have to look at some changes, but we certainly have to be better, whichever group we have out there."

The Pacers' opponent on Wednesday might look like the perfect team to play in order to get out of a funk, but Dallas' 10-25 record shouldn't cause anyone to mark the game as an automatic Pacers win. The plucky Mavericks have notched their last four victories against some of the top teams in the league, downing the Raptors, Pistons, Spurs, and Nuggets.

But in order to finish the game on top, the Pacers will be focused on how they start it, as they seek to break out of their habit of being slow out of the gate.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Darren Collison, SG - Victor Oladipo, SF - Bojan Bogdanovic, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Myles Turner
Mavericks: PG - Dennis Smith Jr., SG - Wesley Matthews, SF - Harrison Barnes, PF - Maxi Kleber, C - Dirk Nowitzki

Injury Report

Pacers: Victor Oladipo - questionable (sore right knee), Domantas Sabonis - questionable (sore left big toe), Alex Poythress - probable (sore left thumb), Glenn Robinson III - out (left ankle surgery rehabilitation), Edmond Sumner - out (left knee surgery rehabilitation)

Mavericks: Seth Curry - out (stress reaction, left tibia), Dorian Finney-Smith - out (left knee quadriceps tendinitis), Josh McRoberts - out (lower extremity injury), Nerlens Noel - out (left thumb surgery)

Last Meeting

December 9, 2016: After a first half in which the Pacers couldn't miss from deep, Indiana went cold in the second half, falling 111-103 to the Mavericks at American Airlines Arena in Dallas.

Paul George finished as Indiana's leading scorer with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting. C.J. Miles ended with six 3-pointers for 18 points, and Myles Turner added 18.

For Dallas, Harrison Barnes led the way with 25 points and eight rebounds. Wesley Matthews scored 26 points, and Deron Williams added 16 points and six assists.

"The second half they got free on the perimeter and starting knocking down threes, and just defensively we didn’t do a good job controlling the ball, and then closing out to those shooters," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said.

Noteworthy

  • Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle coached the Pacers for three seasons (2003-07).
  • Dallas forward Josh McRoberts and guard Yogi Ferrell are both natives of Indianapolis.
  • Yogi Ferrell went on to attend Indiana University, where he played his freshman season with Pacers guard Victor Oladipo in 2012-13.
  • The Mavericks lead the all-time series 40-31 but have lost their last three games in Indianapolis.

Tickets

The Pacers return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to host Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.

Pacers Team Store Game Night Special

NBA Rubber Full Size Basketball - $10. The Game Night Special can be purchased at the Pacers Team Store on game day. as well as online from 10:00 AM-Midnight. Order Online »