For just the third time in the 2013-2014 NBA season, the Indiana Pacers have lost a game in their home building. Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks went into Indianapolis on Wednesday night and emerged with an 81-73 victory that was led by an impressive defensive showing.
Dallas is (rightly) known for their extremely efficient offense, but on this night, it was the other end of the floor that carried the Mavs. The Pacers were held to just 32.1% from the floor (27-for-84) in this game, and when you throw in 16 turnovers, it isn’t difficult to see the recipe for defensive success for the Mavs. MVP candidate Paul George went ice-cold in this one, shooting just 4-for-17, and he didn’t receive much in the way of help from Lance Stephenson (6-for-16 FG) or the Indiana bench (combined for 5-for-23 shooting).
Offensively, the Mavericks weren’t exactly a picture of perfection on Thursday, but against the #1 defense in the NBA, that is to be expected. Dallas shot an ugly 36% in their own right, but Dirk Nowitzki was able to score 18 points on 7-14 FG, and Monta Ellis led the way in the scoring department with 23 points and a team-high 9 rebounds from the guard spot.
If you polled a selection of NBA diehards, very few of them would select Dallas as the “better” team in this match-up, but on Thursday, the Mavs emerged with a victory, and it was one of the rarest ways to get a win in the NBA this season.