Pacers look to rebound from worst loss of season
INDIANAPOLIS — The Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers will each be on the back end of back-to-back games when they meet Wednesday night in Indianapolis. Each team is coming off a drastically different result.
Host Dallas (10-25) upset Toronto 98-93 in one of its best games of the year while the Pacers (19-15) suffered their worst loss of the year to host Detroit, 107-83, Tuesday night.
It was the Pacers’ fewest points this season with the previous low 95. It also was the biggest margin of defeat for the Pacers. Indiana never led as Detroit was ahead 40-19 after the first quarter.
“We are getting off to slow starts where defensively we’re not stopping anybody,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan told reporters after the game. “We are digging holes for ourselves and I have no explanation for that. We have to be better (Wednesday). We might have to look at changes. We just have to do better, not matter which group we have out there.”
Although the Pacers had won two in a row before losing to Detroit, they had been hampered by slow starts of late. The Pacers trailed 57-41 at halftime before rallying to beat visiting Brooklyn 123-119 in overtime Saturday.
“The last four or five games, teams are starting off red hot against us,” McMillan said. “We’re not able to establish any type of tempo. We have to establish that tempo, and it starts with defensively getting stops so that we can get out in transition.”
McMillan would not rule out lineup changes. McMillan said he thought his team was ready to go after Christmas break.
“It seemed like we were still celebrating,” McMillan said. “We have to put this behind us and get ready.”
It was the first time since 2007-08 the Pistons had won the season series (3-1). Detroit held a 46-26 rebounding edge.
The Mavericks broke a two-game losing streak. J.J. Barea led the Mavericks with 20 points, including a big basket late to ice it.
“We just needed one or two buckets to win the game,” Barea told Fox Sports Southwest of his basket snapping a stretch of missed shots. “Wesley Matthews did a great job on (DeMar) DeRozan and we got some big rebounds. It was a big game because they’re a good team.”
DeRozan was limited to eight points on 3-of-16 shooting. Overall, the Mavericks held the Raptors (23-9) to a season-low 33.7 percent.
Wednesday night’s game will mark the return of former Indianapolis Park Tudor School and Indiana University standout Yogi Ferrell, who averages 10.3 points per game. Ferrell, an undrafted free agent, is shooting 39.2 percent from 3-point range in his second NBA season.
“Yogi was a tremendous college scorer, shot the ball well from 3, and it’s pretty clear to me that he’s been coached very, very well in the fundamentals of the game from middle school on up through college,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told the Dallas Morning News. “A lot of his stuff is by the book, which is great to see. It’s one of the reasons we liked him. Listen, I feel good any time any of our shooters have a good look at a 3. But when Yogi has the space and the pass is on time and on target, he goes a great job of stepping into it.”