With some new additions in the mix, the Dallas Mavericks are
playing like a team with a renewed sense of purpose.
The Mavericks look to continue their solid play with a fourth
straight victory Monday night while trying for a sixth consecutive
home win over the Indiana Pacers.
Dallas (35-21) lost five of seven heading into the All-Star
break, then dropped its first game back by 13 points at Oklahoma
City. The Southwest Division-leading Mavericks have bounced back
with wins against playoff contenders Phoenix, Orlando and
The Mavericks are fourth in the Western Conference, but poised
to improve that position.
“We had 30 games left after the All-Star break,” said guard
Jason Kidd, who had 21 points and 11 assists in a 97-91 win over
the Heat on Saturday. “Being a veteran ballclub, we understand
what’s at stake. So the dress rehearsal is over and we’ve got to
Nowitzki scored 28 points and newcomer Caron Butler added 20
against a Miami team playing without injured superstar Dwyane
Though they’ve only been with the team for a week, Butler and
center Brendan Haywood appear to be paying dividends for the
Mavericks after being acquired, along with DeShawn Stevenson, from
Washington for underachieving veterans Josh Howard, Drew Gooden and
Butler is averaging 16.0 points in a more limited offensive role
in four games with his new team, while Haywood has put up 10.8
points and 8.7 rebounds in his first four contests with the
Mavericks. The pair also seems to be helping the team improve on
the defensive end.
Dallas’ four opponents since the break are averaging 93.0 points
on 44.1 percent shooting. In going 3-5 prior to the break, the
Mavericks gave up 112.4 points and their opponents shot 52.9
percent during that span.
“I think we’re getting better,” Nowitzki told the Mavericks’
official Web site. “If good players just play off each other and
play unselfish and play together, we’ll be OK…It’s been fun.”
The fun could continue as the Mavericks try for a fifth
consecutive victory overall against the Pacers (19-36). Dallas has
won eight of nine overall against Indiana, and nine of 10 at home
in the series.
Nowitzki, who had 31 points in a 113-92 win at Indiana on Nov.
27, is averaging 27.5 points in his last 11 games versus the
Pacers. Butler is averaging 27.3 and 9.3 rebounds in his last six
Though the Mavericks are averaging 109.6 points and shooting
50.9 percent during their five-game home winning streak over the
Pacers, Indiana enters this contest coming off a 125-115 at Houston
Danny Granger matched a season high with 36 points and T.J. Ford
scored 19 of his season-high 23 in the second half as the Pacers
snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 7-21 on the
“It’s been a rough season for all of us,” said Ford, averaging
10.5 points in 37 games this season. “We understand teams are
really going to look past us and it’s an opportunity for us to try
to win a lot of games and get back in the hunt.”
Granger is averaging 28.8 points in his last four contests, but
10.8 in four career road games against the Mavericks.