The Indiana Pacers were well aware of the fact that the Dallas Mavericks were one game away from shaving their beards. Indiana manhandled Dallas en route to a 103-78 victory. This was the worst loss for the Mavericks since their first matchup against the Houston Rockets to start the month (suffered a 136-103 loss on Mar. 3). Pacers forward Paul George tallied a game-high 24 points to go along with eight rebounds, a team-high six assists and three steals in 38 minutes.
Dirk Nowitzki totaled a team-high 21 points and seven boards in 33 minutes against Indiana on Thursday. He scored 20-plus points for the sixth time in his last nine games (15th time this season). Nowitzki is averaging 20.7 points on 54. 1 percent shooting (.419 3FG) over his last 10 games. Dirk is averaging 19.1 points and 8.3 rebounds since the All-Star break. He is shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 44.4 percent (24-of-54) from beyond the arc since the break.
Fortunately for the Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks. That means Dallas didn’t lose any actual ground to Los Angeles in the standings. By being two games under .500 now, the earliest they can shave is now Apr. 2, They would be able to do so by beating the Chicago Bulls and…the Los Angeles Lakers.
Some notes before the quotes:
- With the total being 55-34, Indiana clobbered Dallas on the glass. Nov. 24 against the Lakers still remains the largest rebounding deficit the Mavericks had this year (-22).
- After the game was tied at 41 at halftime, Indiana outscored Dallas 34-17 in the third quarter. Dallas shot 7-of-20 (35.0 percent) from the field in the third quarter. Indiana shot 14-of-20 (70.0 percent) from the field.
- Dallas shot 38.6 percent from the field in the loss. Dallas had shot above 40 percent in 31 straight coming into the game. That was their longest streak since 41 in 1987, and the franchise record is 72 from Jan. 1986 through Dec. 1986. Minus Dirk’s 10-of-20 shooting line, the Mavericks shot 22-of-63 (34.9 percent) from the field.
- Dallas is now 5-26 on the year when they score less than 100 points, 3-26 when they shoot below 45 percent from the field.
- The 78 points scored by the Mavericks ties their second-lowest scoring output for the season. The 74 they scored against the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 14 marks their lowest total for the year.
Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ dud against Indiana.
On playing spoiler to Dallas as they wanted to shave their beards: “We wanted to shut that sh– down.”
On the Dallas’ overgrown beards: “Hopefully they can get going and get rid of it. None of them look good.”
Describing Dirk’s beard up close: “I don’t know. It was hairy, I know that.”
On what happened at the start of the third quarter: “We had disappointing starts to both halves. We overcame the first one and battled back and actually got the lead a couple of times. Then to start the second half, they went on a 16-5 run and we just were never able to respond the way we needed to. We had some opportunities, some missed shots we normally make, some of it they had some good fortune. They got us in the bonus the first three minutes of the quarter, which killed us. It’s a tough loss.”
On Indiana’s size advantage: “It was 55-34 on the boards. It was a wipe out inside as far as the rebounding and that’s been a challenge for us and we’ve got to get ready for it again Saturday. Chicago is going to have the same kind of team.”
On difficulty of defending Paul George: “I think he’s, right now, approaching being a top 12 or 15 player in this league, which means he’s top 12 or 15 player in the world. I think he’s that good. We made a few mistakes out there, too. Guys that good can make you make mistakes, but all night long we just weren’t quite good enough and we needed to be.”
On Mike James’ night: “He had an off night. He just had a game things didn’t get going for him. On the other hand, Collison came in and was a difference-maker. It was that kind of night. We had a few guys who couldn’t get going. We’ve got to circle the wagons and get ready for Saturday. That’s where it’s at.”
The night: “It was just one of those nights where anything we did they had a better answer. They’re good … We needed to play better. I thought we tried, but we just didn’t get it done.”
On Paul George going off: “We didn’t play well. I don’t really care about what the other team did right now. We have to execute; we have to play well … It’s live or die basketball. It’s really not about what the other team is does right now. We have to execute.”
On if the beard talk has become a distraction: “I don’t know. I’ll leave that for you guys. It is media talk … It’s a little too magnified.”
Was it a bad time to have a dud? “Terrible time to have a dud. It’s very disheartening and it was just one of those games. We win and see the Lakers lose and we feel good about ourselves. Having a loss on our home floor is definitely disheartening.”
On if anything could be done differently on Paul George or if it was just his night: “I really can’t say because I don’t feel I got a chance to guard. When I was on him I made him take tough shots. I don’t feel like I was really able to guard him to make it hard on him. I don’t think I really got a chance to do that. It is what it is.”
On what needs to happen differently in the game against Chicago: “Show up. Have some fight … When we play as a team, we prevail. When we don’t, we don’t and it shows.”
What happened to start the third quarter? “They kicked our butt in every facet of the game really … We lost to a team that’s deeper and better in all facets of the game.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.