Mavericks’ beards stay after big loss to Pacers

DALLAS — The scissors were sharp. But the effort was dull, as the Mavs on Thursday failed to take advantage of an opportunity to climb to .500 — and to shave those scraggly beards — by losing the Pacers, 103-78. A way to improve on this lackluster performance? “Show up,” Shawn Marion said simply.

The Dallas Mavericks didn’t do that, botching a chance to handle a good Pacers team playing on the second night of a back-to-back and botching an opportunity to close in on the Lakers, who lost 113-103 to the Bucks with Kobe limping off with an ankle problem.

“Terrible time to have a loss,” Dallas’ Elton Brand said. “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.”

The eighth-seeded Lakers (37-36) are in the eighth and final playoff slot in the West. Utah is 36-36. The Mavs remain 1.5 games behind LA and at 35-37 are also in a hole when it comes to employing O.J. Mayo’s barber, “Omar,” who was prepared to shave off the fellas’ beards as part of a bonding effort the Mavs created when they were seven games below .500.

“We wanted to shut that s— down,” Pacers center Roy Hibbert said.

The Mavs were tied 41-all while trying to ride Dirk Nowitzki, who led Dallas with 21 points. But the Mavs collapsed offensively in the second half and also had no answer for the floor game of Paul George (24 points, eight rebounds, six assists) and the inside muscle of Roy Hibbert (16 points and 11 rebounds) and Tyler Hansbrough (13 points and nine rebounds).

“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,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “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.”