Luka Doncic goes off but Pacers spoil his 24th birthday in upset win over Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks could not get a stop as they lost to the Indiana Pacers 124-122 on Tuesday night. Former Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle produced a fantastic gameplan that saw Indiana doubling Luka Doncic in the backcourt every time he tried to bring the ball up. The Mavericks superstar dropped 39 points on his 24th birthday, but it was the Pacers that picked up the win.

The defensive issues are not going away for Dallas. They allowed 30-plus in each of the first three quarters, and the Mavs cannot win giving up over 120 points in every game no matter how spectacular their offense is down the stretch. Can they get things figured out on that end of the floor?

Kleber made his much-needed return, and Luka put on a show, but it was not enough to grab the win. The Mavericks have lost five of their last six games, and here is a closer look at the familiar defeat to the Pacers on Feb. 28.

Luka Doncic goes off but Pacers spoils his 24th birthday in upset win over Mavericks

Fans knew Luka Doncic was going to put on a show on his birthday, and number 77 did not disappoint. He came out with 18 first-quarter points on seven of nine shooting from the field, including this beautiful floater.

Doncic finished with 39 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and one block in 37 minutes of action against the Pacers. He was 14 of 25 from the field on Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center, and he even found a bit of time to taunt his former head coach. Luka improved his league leading scoring average on his birthday as he went off on the Pacers.

Doncic did pick up his 13th technical foul of the season, and he struggled with his jumper. The 24-year-old was just three of nine from 3-point range, and he missed four of his 12 free throw attempts. It was still an incredible performance from LD, but the Mavs just did not have enough to win on Feb. 28.

Maxi Kleber returned after missing 35 straight games recovering from hamstring surgery, and fans were hyped. It was an incredibly quick recovery from the 6’10 big man, and he showed no ill effects on Tuesday night. Kleber even got up for this monster dunk in the first quarter.

Kleber was on a minute’s restriction after missing 2.5 months of action, but he still finished with nine points, two assists, and one block in 24 minutes of action. Kleber was four of six from the field, including hitting one 3-pointer, and the Mavs outscored the Pacers by nine with the 31-year-old big man on the floor.

The Mavs slipped to 4-5 since the Kyrie Irving trade, and they are just 1-4 when their superstar duo has played together. Dallas left another game on the table on Tuesday night, and they must get things sorted out quickly if they want to get back to the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Irving missed the game-winning shot at the buzzer, and it is the third time that Dallas had a chance to go ahead late, but they failed to make the bucket.

The Dallas Mavericks continue their six-game homestand on Thursday night when they face the Philadelphia 76ers at the American Airlines Center. Joel Embiid and James Harden will look to come into Dallas and steal a win. Will Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving stop them? Be sure to tune in to find out.

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