Setting the Table: Indiana Pacers (Game 72)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 28, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (35-36) will continue their homestand with a matchup against the Indiana Pacers (45-27). It has come to this. After a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 9, the Mavericks were 10 games below .500, 13-23. The Mavericks made a pact in February to say that they will grow beards until they get back to .500. Omar the Barber will be in the building as they are one win away from making it all of the way back to level footing.

They have gone 22-13 since they were 10 games under .500 after a loss to the Clippers on Jan. 9 (seventh best in NBA, fifth best in West). Dallas is trying to become only third team since 1989 (Both the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers in 1997) to make playoffs after being 10 games or more under .500.

The Pacers do come in on the second night of a back-to-back after a solid 100-91 win on the road against the Houston Rockets, but Indiana does present a very stout challenge for Dallas. There’s still no margin for error for the Mavericks as both the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz won last night. That means Dallas moved back to the 10th spot in the West, one-and-a-half games back of the Lakers for 8th and a half-game back of the Jazz for the 9th spot (Jazz still holds the tiebreaker).

In breaking news, the Pacers announced that forward Danny Granger will miss the remainder of the season to undergo surgery on his left knee.

Via the team’s statement:

“The decision was made after all conservative treatment options could not alleviate the soreness Granger encountered. After consultation between Granger, the Pacers’ medical staff and Dr. James Andrews, surgery became the preferred option.

Granger underwent a procedure in late October for patellar tendinosis. He returned Feb. 25 and played five games before continued soreness in the knee sidelined him. After further rehab did not ease the soreness, surgery was decided on. He is expected to be ready for training camp.”

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Pacers.

Series Notes:

The Pacers have won two straight and three of the last four meetings with the Mavericks. Before falling to Indiana on Feb. 22, 2010, the Mavericks won 9-of-10
against the Pacers.

In the first showdown between the two teams this season, the Pacers defeated the Mavericks 103-83 at Indiana on Nov. 16. O.J. Mayo scored a team-high 19 points for the Mavericks in the loss. Darren Collison (10) and Vince Carter (10) also scored in double figures for Dallas.

The Mavericks and the Pacers met once in 2011-12 (at Dallas on Feb. 3, 2012) and Indiana recorded a 98-87 victory.

The Pacers snapped a seven-game road losing streak against the Mavericks with a 98-87 win at Dallas on Feb. 3, 2012. The Mavericks won 11-of-12 at home against the Pacers prior to that previous loss. Dirk Nowitzki tallied 30 points and seven rebounds in his last game against the Pacers on Feb. 3, 2012. Nowitzki (right knee surgery) was unavailable for the game at Indiana earlier this season.

It’s a Small World:

Rick Carlisle coached the Pacers for three seasons from 2003-07. He amassed a 181-147 (.552) record with Indiana, while leading the team to three straight postseason appearances. In his first year with Indiana (2003), Carlisle led the Pacers to the NBA’s best record (61-21), the most victories in franchise history, the best winning percentage in team history (.744) and a Central Division Championship. He also led the Pacers to the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals where they eventually lost to the Pistons.

The Mavericks acquired Darren Collison (along with Dahntay Jones) from Indiana in exchange for center Ian Mahinmi. Collison played two seasons with Indiana from 2010-12. Mahinmi played two seasons with Dallas from 2010-12 and averaged 4.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg in 117 games (12 starts) with the Mavericks. Mahinmi was a member of the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship team.

Mavericks assistant coach Jim O’Brien was the head coach of the Pacers from 2007-11.

Shawn Marion attended junior college at Vincennes University in Indiana before transferring to UNLV. Brandan Wright was a college teammate of Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough at the University of North Carolina during the 2006-07 season. O.J. Mayo played two-and-a-half seasons with Pacers forward Sam Young on the Memphis Grizzlies from 2009-12.

Three Keys:

1. Keep the offensive synergy going. Dallas shot 54.3 percent (38-of-70) from the floor in the win over Utah on Mar. 24. The Mavericks shot 50-plus percent from the field for the eighth time in their last 13 games (20th time this season). The Mavericks are 17-3 this season when they shoot 50-plus percent from the field. Via Mavericks statistician Dave Keeney, Dallas has  shot above 40 percent in 31 straight. That is their longest streak since 41 in 1987. Franchise record is 72 from Jan. 1986 through Dec. 1986. They need to find a way to keep this going because…

2. The Pacers lead NBA in all four major defensive categories: points allowed, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and rebound differential. They embrace the Eastern Conference mindset when it comes to defense. They will be physical and not give you an inch. The Mavericks need to prepare for a battle and not get rattled if shots don’t go down early. They just need to keep plugging away.

3. Ride Dirk, the bench. Dallas can keep plugging away at the Pacers if they force the issue with Dirk Nowitzki. He’s coming off a great performance where he tallied a season-high 33 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds in 39 minutes vs. the L.A. Clippers (previous high: 30 points vs. L.A. Lakers 3/24). Dirk is averaging 20.7 points and 8.2 rebounds over his last nine games. He is shooting 54.8 percent (69-of-126) from the floor and 44.8 percent (13-of-29) from deep in that span. Dallas has top scoring bench in NBA (41.5 points per game). Pacers are 29th (26.3 points per game). They also have the worst bench field goal percent as a bench unit (.395).

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.