The Mavericks head to Indianapolis is what is a familiar place for many. Rick Carlisle coached the Indiana Pacers from 2003-2007 and Troy Murphy was a Pacer from 2006-2010, including two of his best years. More recently, the Mavericks traded center Ian Mahinmi for Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones this past summer.
The Pacers, like the Mavericks, are shorthanded but have been struggling even more with a disappointing 3-6 start. Leading scorer Danny Granger is out likely for three months and although the Pacers have numerous other weapons, they are shooting a league-low 39.8% and putting up only 87.8 ppg, down a full 10 ppg from last year. In their last game against the Milwaukee Bucks they trailed by as many as 32 points.
Shawn Marion will be missing another game and Brandan Wright’s status is unknown, having inexplicably demoted from starter to bench warmer.
The Pacers won 2 of the last 3 meetings with Dallas but don’t appear to have that kind of momentum at the present time. They still have a competent front line featuring Roy Hibbert and David West, as well as wing scoring in Tyler Hansbrough and George Hill. They are not terribly deep however and seem strangely out of sync without Collison and Granger. As with the Wizards, the Mavericks simply need to play good solid fundamental basketball and they should prevail on talent alone as long as the Pacers are underachieving compared to last year.