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Nowitzki is Back, But Mavs Still Lose to Pacers 98-87

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The first quarter was an absolute SHOOTOUT. Indiana made their first 8 shots, but then hit a pretty substantial dry spell. Dirk Nowitzki, who had been worrying us all, found himself a bit of a groove, going five for five from the field with some pretty looking jumpers. The second quarter saw Vince Carter making circus shots, battling inside and taking charges. Dirk made a three, so that happened. And the Mavericks still couldn't quite defend the arc. There were a few awkward back-and-forth sequences where both offenses looked totally out of control, but the Mavericks went into the locker room at the half up by one.

The third quarter started without the Mavericks. They couldn't score in the first two minutes and it took, of all things, a pair of made free throws from Brendan Haywood to break the scoring draught. The Pacers found a way to open up a double-digit lead, and Haywood and Dahntay Jones found a way to get double technicals after a shoving match. The final period saw a lot more bad stuff, like three-pointers for everyone not wearing a Mavericks uniform. There was one circus shot and-one made by Dirk, but that was just about the only highlight of the second half. It was another case of Jekyll and Hyde teams, with a completely lackluster performance to close the game.

Some bullets after the jump.

  • Welcome back Dirk, and thank you Holger. The Überman scored a team-high 30 points, pulled in seven rebounds and dished out two assists. Unfortunately, he also led the team in turnovers with four. Clearly he's got his confidence back. Now we just need Jason Kidd to come back so he can get the ball to Dirk at the right times.
  • Jet and Carter were the only other Mavericks to reach double figures in scoring. Marion, who had been playing at a high level previously, was pretty abysmal on the floor (+/- loser at -24) but he managed to pull in seven rebounds.
  • Speaking of rebounds, Haywood only brought down six. Lamar Odom had that many, and he's not a center. Get in the paint and stop dropping the ball, big man. Seriously, there were a couple Dampier-like moments out there tonight.
  • On a positive note, the Mavericks bench outscored the Pacers bench 25-10. But then again, the Pacers didn't need the bench to score because almost all five starters were in double figures. Roy Hibbert, the only starter with under 10 points, had 14 rebounds. So he's forgiven.
  • I tried to end on a positive note but then I messed that last bullet up. SO here's a real one: The Mavs had 10 blocks. That's a lot of swatting. Now if they could only capitalize on those stops, we'd be golden!

Dallas takes on the Cavaliers tomorrow night at 6:30pm CT.