Mavs use late kick to overtake Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS — Dallas guard Yogi Ferrell had little doubt what triggered the Dallas Mavericks’ closing run against Indiana.
“I think it was our defensive pressure,” Ferrell said. “The coaches gave us great defensive schemes and we went out and did it. I think switching up coverages messed them up offensively and got them out of rhythm. We just went out and executed the game plan.”
The Mavericks closed the game with a 14-4 run to top the Pacers 98-94 on Wednesday night.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead six Mavericks in doubles figures. Harrison Barnes and Ferrell each had 13 points for Dallas (11-25).
Wesley Matthews and Dwight Powell added 12 points apiece and Devin Harris scored 10 for the Mavericks, who shot 51.3 percent from the field (40 of 78).
The Pacers (19-16) were without top scorer Victor Oladipo (24.9 points), who was sidelined with a sore right knee. Lance Stephenson, who started in Oladipo’s place, scored 16 points to share team-leading scoring honors with Darren Collison and Myles Turner.
Stephenson added a career-high 15 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic added 13 points for Indiana, which shot 48.1 percent (38 of 79 shots).
Trailing 90-84, the Mavericks used a 10-0 run to take a 94-90 lead. The spurt was capped by Ferrell’s 3-pointer. Bogdanovic’s jumper cut the deficit to 94-92 and Stephenson’s layup tied it a 94-all with 53.9 seconds to go.
Barnes was fouled with 37.7 seconds left, hitting the second free throw to give Dallas a 95-94 lead. A steal by Matthews led to an easy layup by Dennis Smith Jr. to give the Mavs a 97-94 lead with 25.2 seconds to go.
Collison missed a 3-point attempt with 7.1 seconds to go. Ferrell was fouled and hit the first of two free throws to effectively seal it with 3.5 seconds left.
“I thought the last couple of defensive stands really kind of personified who we are as a team, when we are playing well,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
Nowitzki scored six points, hitting all three shots, in the fourth quarter but sat on the bench for the final five minutes. He admitted that he was tired after four games in six nights.
“I haven’t played a lot of crunch-time minutes when we need a quicker team out there,” Nowitzki said. “I thought the guys were great. Dwight did a phenomenal job sliding his feet and keeping the little guys in front of him. We really battled down the stretch. We got a lot of great looks. We played together.”
Both teams were playing the back end of back-to-back games. The Pacers lost to Dallas 107-83, their largest margin of defeat this season. The Mavericks had upset visiting Toronto 98-93.
Pacers coach Nate McMillan said his team settled for perimeter shots.
“They kind of pack it in and they give you the perimeter shots the way they defense,” McMillan said. “They take away penetration, rim attempts and your bigs and your guards are going to get long twos. I thought we didn’t get out and get enough transition. They established a tempo and we played at their tempo the entire game.”
Stephenson didn’t want to blame the loss on Oladipo’s absence.
“We were right there,” he said. “We made mistakes and lot of our guys were confident and trying to win the game. We just have to watch film and see what we did wrong and learn from our mistakes.”
The Pacers expanded a one-point halftime advantage to three points (74-71) after three quarters.
Indiana hit 22 of 38 shots (57.9 percent) to hold a 54-53 lead at halftime. Dallas was 22 of 41 (53.7 percent) from the field before intermission. The Pacers sank 11 of 18 shots to take a 29-22 lead after the first quarter.
NOTES: Indiana dropped to 15-4 when making 10 or more 3-pointers in a game. The Pacers were 10 of 25 from 3-point range. ... Pacers G Lance Stephenson averaged just five points on 25 percent shooting in the first eight games. Since then, Stephenson has scored in double figures 12 times. ... Dallas F Josh McRoberts, from the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel and a former Pacers player, continues to be sidelined with lower-extremity injury. He has yet to play this season. ... The Mavericks, who were averaging just 10.9 turnovers in the previous 12 games, committed just nine. ... Mavericks G Yogi Ferrell, a former Indianapolis Park Tudor School and Indiana University standout, got a large ovation when he entered the game off the bench in the first quarter.