Game Rewind: Pacers 107, Mavericks 81
Last season, when the Pacers beat the Mavericks in both their meetings, Monta Ellis was donning the uniform of the Mavs. But on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Pacers were thankful to have Ellis in the Blue & Gold, as the kinetic guard used a combination of incisive drives to the hoop and 3-pointers to dispatch his former team 107-81.
Ellis started the game off on the erratic side, missing a few layups that on most days he’d make. But just four minutes into the third quarter, Ellis — who finished the night with 19 points — knifed his way into the lane on a fast break, euro-stepping for a bucket to put Indiana up by four at the time. Ellis tallied all 19 of his points in the second half.
“I had some good looks, just wasn’t going down,” Ellis said of his scoreless first half. “Coaches just told me to attack, to keep taking my shots, and I was just able to get out in transition in the beginning of the second half and get some easy buckets.”
When asked if he was nervous to be playing against his former squad, Ellis demurred.
“I’ve been playing basketball too long to be nervous,” he said.
In the fourth, still looking to put away the Mavericks for good, Ellis drained two from beyond the arc with just under six minutes remaining in the game, pushing Indiana’s lead to 22 points and effectively ending the night of the Mavs.
Dirk Nowitzki missed 3-of-4 3-point attempts in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter — and made just 1-of-7 in the game — while the Pacers continued to pile up points on the offensive end. Threes from C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey helped open up the Pacers’ lead to 14 points, forcing Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle to call a timeout with 8:20 remaining in the game.
But coming out of the timeout, the Pacers continued their onslaught, receiving timely buckets from Ellis, Rodney Stuckey, and C.J. Miles as they began to put the Mavericks away for good.
With both teams scrapping to shoot over 30 percent in the first half, the Pacers’ offense began to take form during the third quarter, in the shape of a 12-2 run to help Indiana take an 11-point lead into the final frame, thanks to Ellis’ 13 third-quarter points. The quarter was ended by a Rodney Stuckey steal in which Stuckey (12 points) rifled a pass to a streaking Ellis for a dunk against his former team.
At the first half buzzer, the Pacers trailed the Mavericks by just two, holding a lead until the final moment when Mavericks guard Raymond Felton (16 points) connected on a 3-pointer in the final seconds to give his team the advantage at the break.
But once the second half began, the Pacers never looked back, outscoring the Mavs 62-34 over the final two quarters. It was the Pacers’ second win in a row, and third in their last four games.
When asked what turned the fortunes of the Pacers in the second half, Paul George — who finished his night with 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting — recited a familiar formula that has carried the Pacers early on this season.
“Defense,” George said. “Same thing every night: Defense”
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers scored more points than their subsequent quarter in each quarter of the game(20, 25, 30, 32).
Every player on Indiana had a positive +/- rating.
The Pacers have now held three opponents out of their last four to 90 points or less.
As a team, the Pacers made 11-of-29 3-pointers (37.9 percent). The Mavericks were just 8-of-33 (24.2 percent).
The Pacers tied their season-high with 28 team assists. The last times they had that many was 11/18 versus Philadelphia, and 11/21 vs Milwaukee.
What They’re Saying
“He really got himself going. He came off of good ball movement and it was just a matter of time. Monta is at the point in his career where scoring 25 points a night isn’t the most important thing. Winning every night is. I love that he’s all about winning right now.” -Pacers head coach Frank Vogel
“He keeps playing. He kept playing and gave himself a chance to do well. That’s the difference. We didn’t do a good job of that in the second half.” -Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle on Ellis
“We couldn’t get any stops and I thought our offense had some good looks, our primary guys had real good looks. We knew they would come out in the second half and start hitting the looks they were getting … We have to win games when our shots are not falling.” -Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons.
by Greg Rappaport