Four-Pointer: Previewing the Indiana Pacers

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In their final game before the All-Star break, the Mavericks travel to face the best team in the NBA.

What are Indiana's biggest strength and weakness?

Indiana is the best defense in the league, and it's not close. Their 93.8 defensive rating is best in the league, and it's not close -- Chicago comes in at a distant 98.1. They allow the lowest field goal percentage at 41.2 percent -- a full 1.8 percent better (worse?) than second placed Denver. They allow the fourth fewest three-point attempts and second lowest three-point percentage.

Do they do anything bad? They've got an above-average offense and a go-to scorer in Paul George. They're a little turnover-prone at 15.3 a game -- 11th worst in the league -- but even that's reaching. There's a reason this team has the best record in the NBA at the time I'm writing this...they're very, very good.

What has Indiana done lately?

In the final game before the All-Star Break, there's always a chance the Pacers let their guard down and aren't prepared, looking ahead to the weekend's festivities or relaxation. But those chances are muted considering Indiana lost on the road to Orlando on Sunday. It was their only loss in their last six games, including an overtime win against Portland.

What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Pacers?

On the tail end of a back-to-back, the Mavericks are going to need their bench to get them a huge spark...and then some. Dirk needs to be great. Somehow, Dallas needs to turn this game into a shootout, something that would favor their explosive offense. It would probably include a lot of long jumpers going through the basket.

Which Pacers player might be due for a big game?

This is the last chance for Lance Stephenson to prove he was an All-Star snub, and I predict he's going to do it, to the tune of a triple-double. Basically this. Sorry, perimeter Dallas defenders, but Lance gonna Lance.

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