The Dallas Mavericks (32-22) sure surprised many people tonight on their way to a 81-73 win over the NBA best Indiana Pacers (40-12).
After a lackluster and embracing performance against the Charlotte Bobcats, the Mavs did plenty right tonight to end on a positive note going into the All-Star break.
Defense: Usually we write about the lack of defense the Mavs play, but tonight the defense for the Mavs showed up. The Pacers were held to just 73 points (season low) on 32.3% shooting. The Mavs forced 20 turnovers, four of which were by shot clock violations. Hidden under the Mavs great team defensive effort was the play of constant Defensive All-Team snub Shawn Marion. Marion was a huge reason why Pacers’ MVP Paul George finished with just 12 points on 4-17 shooting. George Hill was the high man for the Pacers with just 14 points. The Pacers, known for their defense also had a strong showing. The Mavs shot just 35.7% from the field and 26.3% from 3. The Pacers were held to just 11 points in the fourth.
Rebounding: The Mavs held their own against the second best rebounding team in the NBA. Both teams tallied 47 rebounds. Shooting guard Monta Ellis led the way on the glass for the Mavs with 9. Opposing shooting guard Lance Stephenson finished with a game high 10 rebounds.
Team Have It All: On a night were offense was at a minimal, the Mavs one-two punch did a great job of shouldering the load. Dirk Nowitzki (18 points) and Ellis (23) constantly came up with big shots and plays. Ellis did a great job of attacking the basket and drawing fouls (9-10 ft).
Bench: The box score won’t show it but the Mavs bench had a vital role in the Mavs win. Brandan Wright tallied all seven of his points in the fourth and supplied a great interior presence against the attacking Pacers and Roy Hibbert. Although rookie Shane Larkin finished with just 1 point, he was able to fill in for the foul-plagued Jose Calderon and injured Devin Harris and keep the Mavs afloat. He also was second on the team with five assists. DeJuan Blair (9 points), Vince Carter (11 points and 4 assists), and Jae Crowder (3 rebounds and 2 blocks) all had a hand in the win.
This was a win the Mavericks really needed, especially after what happened last night.
The Mavs were able to come into Indiana and beat the Pacers in their own game, something that very few have done as this was just the third Pacers’ home loss.
The Mavs will now be able to hold their heads up during the break before facing another big-time test against the defending champs Miami Heat on Tuesday February 18th.
Depending on the Golden State Warriors game, the Mavs will either be the 6th or 7th seed in the West when play begins.