Mavericks end 4-game skid vs. Pacers to stay in playoff hunt
Luka Doncic finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists just hours after his most recent technical foul and one-game suspension were rescinded Monday by the NBA and led the Dallas Mavericks past the Indiana Pacers 127-104.
The Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak and moved within a half-game of the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder in the race for the final two play-in spots in the Western Conference. Kyrie Irving added 16 points and six assists for Dallas.
Indiana was led by Bennedict Mathurin, who scored 22 points, and Andrew Nembhard, who had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists on a night the Pacers were missing three starters and a key backup. The Pacers have lost three straight and six of eight as they move closer to locking up a lottery pick.
Dallas took control of a back-and-forth game by opening the second quarter on a 14-2 run, taking a 43-29 lead. The Mavericks led 59-47 at the half and extended the advantage to 77-56 midway through the third quarter. Indiana never seriously challenged again.
Doncic had picked up his 16th technical that was rescinded on Sunday in the team's second loss to Charlotte. The technical came with 7:51 remaining in the third quarter of a 110-104 loss when Doncic argued a no-call after missing a shot on a drive to the basket. Crew chief Kevin Scott said in a pool report after the game that Doncic used "a profanity directed at the officials in protest to a no-call that was correctly judged in postgame video review."
Mavericks: Rookie Jaden Hardy had 20 points as six players scored in double figures. ... Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 13 points and Reggie Bullock had 11 and JaVale McGee added 10. ... Dallas' rebounding woes continued as they were beaten on the boards 43-29 by Indiana. ... The Mavericks completed the season series tied at 1-1 for the fifth consecutive season. They lost 124-122 on their home court in February.
Pacers: Jordan Nwora had 13 points and nine rebounds, while Isaiah Jackson had 12 rebounds. ... T.J. McConnell finished with 15 points, five rebounds and seven assists. ... Jalen Smith was the fifth player in double figure with 11 points. Smith also had six rebounds. ... When the Cleveland Cavaliers clinched a playoff spot Sunday, the Pacers secured the Cavs' first-round pick in this year's draft courtesy of last season's deal for Caris LeVert.
Doncic's former coach, Rick Carlisle, now in charge of the Pacers, said he wasn't surprised by the league's decision.
In fact, Carlisle thinks the league should rescind more technical calls. Perhaps that's because he has already paid a hefty price with a league-leading 11 technicals this season, five short of drawing his own suspension.
"I don't know how many I have, I just know I've surpassed the five the team can pay for," he said. "It's kind of, you know, they're not cheap so if you're going to get them, you better get your money's worth."
HIELD HELD OUT
Carlisle also said Buddy Hield missed his first game of the season with a non-COVID-19 illness.
It wasn't by choice. Team doctors told Carlisle that Hield could not play earlier Monday and the Pacers' top 3-point shooter wasn't even on the bench. Hield's 271 3-pointers this season rank second in the league, two behind Klay Thompson.
Indiana also played without All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton and starting center Myles Turner, who were listed as injury management, and backup guard Chris Duarte (sore left ankle).
Mavericks: Make their third stop on a five-game trip Wednesday at Philadelphia.
Pacers: Host Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee on Wednesday.
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