The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Indiana Pacers 132-105 on Saturday night at the AAC in Dallas. The Mavericks took control early in the game and held the Pacers at bay all night. Dallas never trailed in the game.
The vaunted Mavericks’ defense took a couple quarters to kick in tonight. They gave up 60 points in the first half to the Pacers. Luckily, the lackluster Dallas offense found a different gear this game and put up 30 or more points in each of the first three quarters. The Mavericks went into halftime up 72-60.
The clamps came out in the third quarter, though. Dallas held Indiana to only 20 points in the third, ending the quarter up 104-80. The first half of the fourth quarter turned into cardio for the starters, and midway through the period Jason Kidd emptied the bench.
But then the offense went cold, and the Mavericks didn’t score for almost three minutes. Kidd re-inserted Luka Doncic, Reggie Bullock, and Dorian Finney-Smith. The Mavericks proceeded to go on an 11-3 run to put the game away.
Doncic led all scorers with 30 points, and dished out 12 assists. Duane Washington Jr. led the Pacers with 22 points. Kristaps Porzingis left the game in the second quarter with knee soreness.
Here are three things from the win:
Reggie Bullock finally arrived
When the Mavericks signed Bullock this offseason, almost everyone thought it was a smart pickup. Bullock could shoot 3’s well, had size, and could defend the perimeter. He had everything the Mavericks needed. Almost fifty games in, Bullock had provided the defense, but the shooting was missing. It was tough to watch sometimes.
Not tonight. Bullock went 6-8 from behind the arc and 8-11 from the floor, scoring 23 points, a season high. Bullock has had a few good games this year, but nothing like this. It’s a testament to him not losing faith in his shot, despite the results. “It’s all about me just staying confident,” Bullock told Derek Harper after the game. “Staying consistent and just trying to continue to take the shots the team is giving me.”
The Mavericks don’t beat themselves
Dallas only had five turnovers tonight. Maybe it’s because I’m a weirdo who spent 13 years watching Rick Carlisle coached teams, but I love it when a basketball team takes care of the ball. They rarely get careless with the rock and give away points.
They also play a perfect blend of attacking and conservative defense. They’ve always got guys back on defense. They play drop coverage a lot, but switch when they need to. It’s rare that teams can get them out of what they want to do on defense, and mostly they get what they want on offense. Tonight was a perfect display of both.
The bench showed up
Though it’s happening less frequently this year, in the past there have been plenty of times where Luka went supernova, but the Mavericks still lost because no one else on the team scored in double digits. That wasn’t he case tonight.
The Mavericks’ bench scored 62 points. That’s buoyed by Bullock’s 23, but it’s still impressive. Dwight Powell had 10 points, and Josh Green had 12. Frank Ntilikina almost made it four bench players in double digits, scoring nine points. Even the little used Theo Pinson picked up three points. It’s always great when the bench can contribute in a significant way.
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