Rick Carlisle will return to Dallas on Saturday night, when he leads the Pacers (18-32) into American Airlines Center to take on the Mavericks (28-21) on the second night of a back-to-back.
Carlisle spent 13 seasons with the Mavs from 2008-21, leading the franchise to its only NBA championship in 2011. The two sides mutually agreed to part ways this summer, with Carlisle returning to Indiana for a second stint as head coach of the Pacers. Though he will be on the visiting bench, the 15th winningest coach in NBA history figures to get a warm ovation from the Dallas crowd on Saturday.
The Pacers are coming off a 113-110 overtime victory in Oklahoma City on Friday that saw the Blue & Gold rally from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to eke out the win.
The biggest catalyst in the victory was the return of Domantas Sabonis. Indiana's All-Star forward returned to the floor after missing the previous four games with a sprained ankle and didn't miss a beat, putting together another virtuoso performance. Sabonis registered his fifth triple-double of the season with 24 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists, all team highs.
As always, the biggest challenge against Dallas will be finding a way to slow down Luka Doncic. The 22-year-old phenom is averaging 25.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game and has helped lead the Mavs to wins in 12 of their last 15 contests.
Pacers: PG - Caris LeVert, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Torrey Craig, C - Domantas Sabonis
Mavericks: PG - Luka Doncic, SG - Jalen Brunson, SF - Dorian Finney-Smith, PF - Maxi Kleber, C - Kristaps Porzingis
Pacers: Goga Bitadze - questionable (sore right foot), Chris Duarte - questionable (sore right ankle), Malcolm Brogdon - out (sore right Achilles), T.J. McConnell - out (right wrist ligament surgery), Myles Turner - out (left foot stress reaction), T.J. Warren – out (left navicular fracture)
Mavericks: Sterling Brown - out (sore left foot), Tim Hardaway Jr. - out (left foot fifth metatarsal fracture)
Dec. 10, 2021: With Rick Carlisle in the NBA's health and safety protocols, the Pacers rallied together to knock off their coach's former team, 106-93, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Caris LeVert had a team-high 26 points in the win, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range, while also tallying seven rebounds and five assists. Domantas Sabonis added 24 points, 10 boards, and seven assists, while Myles Turner (17 points and 10 rebounds) and Malcolm Brogdon (12 points and eight assists) also reached double figures.
"I think, for us, we tried to do it for Rick (Carlisle) tonight," LeVert said postgame. "We know how much this game meant to him."
Luka Doncic led Dallas with 27 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points, while Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 15 off the bench.
- With a win on Saturday, the Pacers would sweep the season series with Dallas for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign.
- Indiana is 5-3 on the season when playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
- Carlisle accumulated 555 of his 853 career wins over his 13 seasons in Dallas.
The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to tip off a three-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, Jan. 31 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)