3 Things to Like and Dislike from Pacers' Loss to Mavericks

Grant Afseth

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Coming off a lengthy Western Conference road-trip, the Indiana Pacers came up short against the Dallas Mavericks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

It was the Mavericks who got off to a hot start in this game by taking a 37-28 lead at the end of the first quarter. Indiana managed to rally back before halftime and both teams traded blows in the third period. Entering the fourth quarter, Dallas held just a narrow 93-92 advantage. 

The Mavericks used a 13-3 run to take control in the fourth quarter. The Pacers attempted to rally back but the game was just too out of reach at that point. Dallas came out on top with 124-112 being the final score.

Without Turner in the lineup, the Pacers' defense continued to struggle. Indiana gave up 129 points to the Los Angeles Clippers in their first outing of the season without Turner. There wasn't much for improvement against the Mavericks after allowing 124 points. 

Let's take a look at three things to like and dislike from the Pacers' loss to the Mavericks. 

Like: Brogdon & Sabonis Taking Charge

The Pacers continued to be led by Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis offensively while key players like Myles Turner, TJ Warren, and Caris LeVert remained sidelined. Brogdon contributed 26 points and five assists. Meanwhile, Sabonis chipped in 25 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.

Victor Oladipo was the clear-cut No. 1 option for the Pacers during his time with the team. Now that he is a member of the Houston Rockets, there's a real opportunity for both Brogdon and Sabonis to solidify themselves as All-Star caliber players using greater offensive responsibility. 

Dislike: Sabonis Defending in Space

With Myles Turner sidelined, the Pacers have continued to utilize a defensive strategy that features sending additional pressure to the ball. Often times, this has involved Domantas Sabonis blitzing with the on-ball defender or switching out on the perimeter. 

The Pacers simply do not have the backend support on defense to recover once Sabonis gets beaten on the perimeter. There's only so much that can be done in the adjustments department when there are legitimate personnel limitations causing issues. 

Like: Three-Point Shooting

Typically, managing to shoot 16-of-39 (41%) from beyond the arc will go a long way in netting any team a victory. It didn't quite play out that way for the Pacers in their matchup with the Mavericks. However, 

Perhaps most intriguing of all was that Sabonis managed to convert on three of his four attempts from deep. It snapped a 12 consecutive misses streak from deep that spanned six games. He managed to tie Malcolm Brogdon and Aaron Holiday for the most made three-pointers among Pacers players in this contest.  

Dislike: Paint Defense

It was expected for the Pacers to struggle to protect the paint without Myles Turner in the lineup. The issue gets exacerbated by having Sabonis send additional pressure to the ball and defend in space since there isn't personnel to provide assistance in the paint. 

Allowing 68 points in the paint is simply too much for a team to overcome. The Pacers had a stark advantage in the perimeter shooting department but that was wiped away. 

Like: Jeremy Lamb Returns

Jeremy Lamb made his season debut for the Pacers in this matchup. It was his first appearance in an NBA game since suffering a torn ACL midway through the 2019-20 season. Lamb came off the bench for 19 minutes and provided a helpful 10 points, two rebounds, and two steals. 

Not only is it a good story that Lamb is back on the court for game action, but it's also a needed occurrence for the Pacers. With plenty of key players on the perimeter, Indiana has been left without much depth, and getting a wing player back like Lamb certainly helps. 

Dislike: Mavs' Role Players Took Control

The Pacers made it the top priority of their defense to get the ball out of Doncic's hands. The objective was to force the Mavericks' supporting cast players to execute off the dribble. Dallas ended up thriving doing so.

Whether it was Kristaps Porzingis or Trey Burke, the Mavericks received strong execution in pivotal moments without needing Doncic to shoulder the load. Dallas had four players who contributed at least 19 points while Doncic was limited to 13. 

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