Pacers 112, Mavericks 105
DALLAS -- Indiana star Paul George shook off a cold-shooting first half, George Hill knocked down three crucial 3-pointers and three players with Dallas ties helped the Pacers knock off the struggling Mavericks 112-105 in a rare Saturday matinee.
The Pacers, who made their first 25 free throws and finished 27-of-29, never trailed in the second half, but Dallas sliced an 11-point deficit to 92-91 with 5:28 to go in the fourth period. That is when Hill, who finished with 16 points, went around the horn, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers, first from the corner, then straightaway and finally from the other corner.
In between was a bucket from George, who scored 13 of his team-high 20 points in the third quarter when Indiana took control, for a 100-93 lead with 4:05 to go. The Pacers never could completely put Dallas away, but they managed to seal the road victory to move to 35-30.
Dallas (33-33) dropped to .500 for the first time all season with its fifth consecutive loss, and finds itself sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference playoff race. The Mavs got burned by two players who used to wear the Dallas uniform, and another who grew up 20 minutes from their home arena.
Former Mavs guard Monta Ellis (17 points, seven assists and five rebounds) and Ian Mahinmi (10 points), plus impressive rookie power forward Myles Turner (15 points, seven rebounds), who a year ago was playing his freshman season at the University of Texas, combined to go 15 of 27 from the floor.
Ellis' three-point play on a driving layup in which he was granted continuation even though he was fouled just inside the free throw line, extended Indiana's four-point lead to 106-99.
As has been a trend in recent losses, Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki did not get much help. The 37-year-old forward finished with a game-high 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting. The Mavs' other four starters finished 18 of 45.
The rested Pacers, who last knocked off San Antonio on Monday, led 55-51 at halftime despite going 3 of 16 from beyond the arc and George struggling mightily with his range. George had just two points in the first half on 1-of-6 shooting, but brushed that off to go 5 of 8 with three 3-pointers in the third quarter that pushed Indiana to an 83-75 lead.
The Mavs, however, failed to take advantage because they could not shoot straight from inside the arc. While going 4 of 9 from 3-point range in the first half, Dallas shot just 41.7 percent overall.
NOTES: Pacers G Monta Ellis made his first return to Dallas since leaving after last season as a free agent. Ellis spent two seasons with the Mavs and, at times, seemed like he might be a long-term fit. ... Pacers F Myles Turner, a native of Euless, Texas, located about 20 miles west of Dallas, is playing his first game as a professional in Dallas. Turner starred at Trinity High School and played last year at the University of Texas. ... Pacers G Ty Lawson, recently signed after he was released by the Houston Rockets, sat out Saturday's game with a sprained left foot. The Pacers entered Saturday's game having not played since beating San Antonio at home on Monday, while the Mavericks entered riding a season-high four-game losing streak. ... Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki entered Saturday's game needing four rebounds to tie Dave Cowens (10,444) for 33rd on the NBA's all-time rebounding list. ... Dallas wraps up a three-game homestand against Indiana and after a heavy home schedule will begin a stretch of eight of its next 11 games on the road. ... The Pacers play at Atlanta on Monday before starting a five-game homestand in which the first three opponents are Boston, Toronto and Oklahoma City.