INDIANAPOLIS – With all-star starter Luka Doncic, who failed for the third time in a row with a sprained right ankle, Kristaps Porzingis ensured the offensive power of Dallas.
The 7-foot-3 Porzingis scored 38 points in the season and 12 rebounds to lead the Mavericks to a 112-103 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
"This is something I want to find out in the future, how I can be effective when Luka is playing," said Porzingis. "We worked on that. I'm in a good rhythm now and I want to keep it going. I think we play pretty good basketball, we move the ball and play aggressively."
Porzingis shot 6 from 13 to 3 hands and made all 12 of his free throws. The six 3-pointers led to a career high.
However, it was not a perfect night for Porzingis. He was not happy with his defense against Domantas Sabonis, who scored 26 points in 9 out of 12 shooting.
"I am very proud of my defense and I feel that Sabonis has made some good moves on me," said Porzingis. "It got deep in color. I was half a step late in many of these shots. In that sense, I'm disappointed, but I'm glad we won. "
Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 25 points to Dallas.
Sabonis narrowly missed a triple double and ended it with 12 rebounds and nine assists. Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points for the Pacers.
Victor Oladipo hit a 3-pointer for Indiana in the third quarter, five seconds ahead, to close the deficit at 82-77.
The Pacers narrowed the lead in a Sabonis three-point game by 5:09 minutes to 96-93, but the Mavericks were able to keep control. Porzingis sank two free throws with 32 seconds remaining to score 110-103.
"If we could get back into the game, we would have a glitch around the perimeter and they would get to the basket or free-throw line," said Pacers coach Nate McMillan. "You scored big goals to stop our runs."
After missing the first 47 games of the season while reconstructing a broken quadriceps tendon in his right knee, Oladipo had been struggling with his shots since returning last week. He was 4 out of 17 out of the field against the Mavericks, including 1 for 10 in the 3-point range after winning 4 out of 22 in total in the previous two games and 2 for 11 against 3. Oladiapo has had to pause since his injury on January 23, 2019.
"I feel like I'm taking great pictures," said Oladipo. "I just can't think about it. I just have to keep shooting. I obviously missed a lot of basketball and maybe the rhythm is a little bit reluctant to limit the minutes."
The Pacers had a half-time lead of 55-53 (52%). Dallas scored 42.9%, but almost made up for the difference by betting 9 to 20 on 3 while Indiana was 4 out of 18.
For the game, the Mavericks shot 41.9% off the ground and 40% on 3s. The Pacers shot 3s to 46% and 21%.
The Mavericks had a rebound of 51:40, of which 30:20 in the second half.
Dallas scored 22 of 23 free throws. The Pacers were 8 out of 11.
When Doncic left, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the team's style was changing. Doncic, who averaged 28.8 points per game, previously missed four games with an ankle sprain this season.
“We just move on to a free flowing style. We call fewer plays, ”said Carlisle. "We have done this enough now to give the boys a feeling of how they should play when Luka is outside. We need him back, but these guys are doing a great job."
Mavericks: J.J. Barea sprained her left ankle in the second quarter and did not return. He had three points in nine minutes.
Pacers: T.J. Warren dropped out with an average of 18.1 points per game due to a concussion protocol. Warren hit his head on Saturday's home loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday. … The teams will play again in Dallas on March 8th.
Mavericks: Moderate the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday evening.
Pacers: Play in Toronto on Wednesday and then return home to the Raptors on Friday. Indiana won the first encounter with defending NBA champions 120-115 in extra time at home on December 23.
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