DALLAS – Monta Ellis and Devin Harris scored 20 points apiece and the Dallas Mavericks extended Indiana’s season-long losing streak to four games with a 105-94 victory against the Pacers on Sunday night.
The Pacers rallied from 17 points down in the first half and almost wiped out another double-digit deficit after halftime, but had the same offensive troubles late that plagued them early in the game.
Paul George had 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pacers, who stayed a game and a half up on Miami for the lead in the Eastern Conference after the Heat lost in overtime to Chicago.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 points on a tough shooting night as the Mavericks swept the two-game season series from the Pacers, who were coming off their most lopsided loss in a 26-point defeat at Houston.
Indiana was trailing 89-87 when Harris, who had a season high in points, had a three-point play on a driving layup and Nowitzki hit a pair of free throws.
Ellis, who also had eight rebounds, put the game away in the final 2 minutes with a pair of jumpers that gave the Mavericks yet another double-digit lead at 102-92 with 56 seconds left.
Lance Stephenson kept Indiana in the game early with 18 first-half points but was limited by foul trouble in the second half and finished with 21. George Hill scored 20 for Indiana.
George was right on his scoring average from his last two trips to Dallas, but the Pacers couldn’t get the defensive stops needed to make it three straight wins in Dallas.
Shawn Marion scored 12 for Dallas, and Jose Calderon and Vince Carter had 10 apiece. Dallas’ reserves outscored Indiana’s 41-4.
Two nights after blowing a 30-point lead before rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Portland, the Mavericks went up 17 early in the second quarter only to let the Pacers get within 48-45 by halftime and pull even on the first shot of the third quarter – a 3-pointer by George.
A sluggish offense had a lot to do with the Pacers’ early deficit. They had one shot-clock violation in the first half and three other times when the buzzer went off after a shot was taken. But they finally got going in the last 8 minutes of the second quarter and shot 64 percent for the period.
Indiana stayed close in the first half thanks to Stephenson, who was 7 of 8 from the floor before halftime and finished the second quarter by banking a shot in after floating across the lane.
Nowitzki had plenty of open looks in the first half but just couldn’t hit many, finishing 2 of 8 with five points before halftime. He was 3 of 14 from the field for the game.
The Mavericks shot 28 percent in the second quarter, best illustrated when Jae Crowder bounced a breakaway layup off the back of the rim and Ellis missed a short jumper after getting the rebound.