Dallas (TSN) – Paul George tallied 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and the Indiana Pacers cooled off the red-hot Dallas Mavericks with a 103-78 victory at American Airlines Center on Thursday.
Indiana, winners in six of its last seven, received 16 points and 11 rebounds from Roy Hibbert as well, while Tyler Hansbrough and Orlando Johnson contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively, off the bench.
The Pacers saw David West return to the lineup after missing six games with a back injury, but found out before the game they will be without former All- Star Danny Granger for the rest of the season, with the forward undergoing season-ending knee surgery.
West had seven points and seven boards.
Dallas’ attempt to reach the .500 mark fell apart after halftime. Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points and seven rebounds and Vince Carter followed with 14 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who had won nine of 12 coming in.
“Terrible time to have a loss,” said Mavs forward Elton Brand, who finished with five points and eight boards. “It’s very disheartening and it was just one of those games.”
Outscoring Dallas by a 34-17 count in the third, the Pacers surged out of halftime with a 10-1 push, ignited by a George Hill 3-pointer and capped on a pair of George free throws to create a 51-42 edge.
The Mavericks struggled to slow down Indiana’s offense, which shot a scorching 70 percent in the third and opened up a 14-point edge on George’s jumper with 4:35 left.
George then capped a 13-point quarter two minutes later, canning a triple to put the Pacers ahead, 72-54, and they carried a 17-point cushion into the fourth.
“I thought it was mostly about Paul, but a lot of guys contributed,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel about pulling away in the third. “It’s all about our defense really.”
The Mavs reduced their margin to 10 early in the fourth on Carter’s 3-pointer, but the Pacers countered with an 8-0 run soon after to put them down for good.
Hibbert hit on 6-of-8 from the line during the stretch and Johnson’s layup created a 91-71 advantage. The Pacers led by as many as 27 over the final five minutes.
Indiana built upon its 23-18 first quarter lead with a pair of baskets early in the second to create a nine-point spread, but Dallas cut away to knot the score at 41-41 by the break.
Darren Collison helped the Mavs erase their deficit, scoring seven points during a 15-7 run. He then added a floater with under a minute left to put Dallas in front, 39-37, but Lance Stephenson’s score in the final seconds sent the Pacers into halftime tied.
Dallas had a three-game home winning streak snapped … The Pacers have won two in a row in Dallas after losing their previous seven contests there … Collison scored 10 for the Mavs … Indiana was 7-for-15 from 3-point distance.