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FutureStarrDallas Mavericks Lose to Indiana Pacers 124-122
On Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks suffered a 124-122 loss to the Indiana Pacers and dropped to 1-4 since Kyrie Irving's trade to Dallas in January. While they hope to make a playoff push this season, their defense must improve in order to do so.
Right now in the NBA, there is plenty to celebrate - including some incredible scoring from players. But defending these high-scoring games can prove challenging.
The Pacers made their presence felt in the postseason with a 124-122 win against Dallas Tuesday. Indiana earned their second straight road victory and now stands at 28-35 overall.
On Tuesday night, Tyrese Haliburton led Indiana with 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists to earn a thrilling win against the Mavericks. Additionally, he hit 12 free throws for his career-high total - helping give Indiana an important win that keeps them atop the Eastern Conference standings.
After a strong first half, Dallas struggled in the second and fell behind by as many as 21 points. However, Indiana was able to regain control of the game, holding Dallas to just two points in the final quarter as they held on for victory.
Luka Doncic had another outstanding game for the Mavericks on Sunday, scoring 39 points. Since being traded to Dallas back in February, Doncic is averaging 23.2 points per game and has led his new team to an impressive 4-1 record.
Doncic has been a major boost for the Mavericks this season, and they look set to get even better next season with Kyrie Irving joining them. Carlisle expressed his delight with the new signing and predicted that Irving would become an important star for Dallas in the near future.
That could certainly be the case, and he must continue to perform in order for Dallas to stay in the Western Conference playoff race. Unfortunately, Dallas still has a lot of work to do on defense before that goal can be achieved.
This year the Mavericks are among the top-10 teams for defensive efficiency, but they still struggle in the paint. That should concern any fan or fantasy basketball manager.
On his return to the court after a calf injury, Haliburton was remarkable, hitting a career-high 12 free throws in this game. Additionally, he had seven rebounds and six assists along with a pair of triples for an impressive total.
If you're searching for a player with more potential, Tyrese Haliburton is an excellent option. In his last three games, he's averaged 32.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists - making him an excellent value in 9-cat formats.
The Mavericks continued their defensive struggles, yielding 124 points in a loss to the Pacers. That marked only their second time this season that they allowed more than 120 points, suggesting that interior defense still needs improvement.
On his 24th birthday, Doncic lit up the Pacers for 39 points but his team could not capitalize. He made 14-of-25 from the field, 3-of-9 from behind the three-point line, had eight rebounds and six assists across 38 minutes of action.
Mavericks lost their fourth game in five, beginning a challenging road trip against the 76ers on Thursday. To remain healthy, Doncic must continue putting up impressive numbers while his teammates must improve on defense.
Luka Doncic made his second start of the season on Tuesday after missing eight games due to a right heel contusion. In just one quarter, Doncic set himself ablaze with 18 points on seven of nine shooting from the floor - including this stunning floater!
In the opening quarter, Dallas trailed by as many as 19 points. But Doncic kept up with the Pacers to help his team come into halftime only 57-54 behind. His two 3-pointers in the third quarter ignited a 20-7 run that culminated with Reggie Bullock's triple and an 82-79 lead for Dallas.
Dallas had a 24-to-18 lead entering the fourth quarter, but couldn't complete their comeback. The Pacers held off Doncic for the victory with Irving finishing with 16 points; however, his last-second 3-pointer missed by two points and Doncic missed two more free throws with two seconds remaining in regulation.
Doncic had his best game since joining the Mavericks, yet was unable to overcome former coach Rick Carlisle's brilliant gameplan that saw Indiana double him up the backcourt for much of the night. That is not a good sign for the young Slovenian superstar who is currently 1-4 in games with Kyrie Irving after signing his deal.
On Saturday night, Myles Turner scored a career-high 24 points - matching his season high - across 36 minutes of Indiana's 118-111 win against Dallas. The Pacers snapped an 11-game road losing streak with the victory and got quality play from backup Jalen Smith who produced seven points, seven rebounds, five blocks and one three-pointer in 20 minutes of action.
He also made a season-high 15 shots from the foul line, helping offset Dallas Mavericks' 30th-ranked shooting. Tyrese Haliburton hit 15 from the line while Buddy Hield added nine.
The Pacers have been searching for a frontcourt upgrade and have spoken with teams about trading guard Caris LeVert or either two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis or center Myles Turner, league sources inform HoopsHype. According to these league sources, Dallas, Knicks, Hornets and Mavericks all expressed interest in trading Turner while Raptors, Hornets and Kings expressed an interest in Sabonis as well.
League sources indicate the Pacers have demanded multiple first-round picks in exchange for Turner, who has been instrumental in their improvement this season. They are interested in trading two first rounders and an up-and-coming prospect for the 22-year-old center who is averaging 15.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 blocks per game.
Turner has been on fire in February, posting four consecutive double-doubles and averaging 20.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.22 blocks in 29.6 minutes. Additionally, he's registered a pair of double-doubles in each of his last eight games for an overall average of 20.6 points and 9.7 boards over the month of February.
Turner has continued his improvement since the second half, and it appears he could see his minutes increase going forward, provided no back injuries occur. After missing two games this month, he was seen participating in practice Tuesday and could potentially start the Pacers' final game before the All-Star break against Miami on Wednesday.
If Turner remains healthy, adding him as a trade partner for veteran Gordon Hayward makes sense. The Boston Celtics have been searching for an upgrade at center and some executives around the league believe that trading Turner with his contract expiring in 2020 could benefit both parties.
Kyrie Irving was the lone bright spot for the Dallas Mavericks during their 124-122 loss to the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night. However, their hopes that bringing Irving in as part of a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets would lead to victories aren't materializing quite as expected.
Irving, whose team has gone 1-4 since the trade, finished with 16 points but missed a game-winning step-back 3-pointer that bounced off the rim as time ran out. Overall, he shot 7-18 from the field and 0-4 from three-point range.
The loss dropped the Mavs to 1-4 since Irving joined the team, one half-game away from securing a playoff spot in the Western Conference. If they want to remain competitive for a title, they need to improve their play.
Irving was a major factor in Dallas' defensive struggles against Indiana, going 15-of-40 from the field in losses to Los Angeles Lakers and Pacers. Additionally, he missed a contested step-back three-pointer that would have given them an 116-77 lead with 7.6 seconds left to play.
Dallas remains in seventh place in the Western Conference standings with a 32-31 record, though they have lost two straight games. On Thursday they take on Philadelphia 76ers in an effort to claw their way back into the play-in tournament picture.
However, the Mavs must play much better defense if they hope to succeed in this league. At present, they rank 26th in defensive rating and 29th in fast-break points.
Head coach Jason Kidd recently sent a message to his players. In it, he encouraged them to "grow up" and compete for a championship.
He also took aim at his players for not doing their homework on defense, something he has addressed previously and which likely won't change in the future.
Before their next matchup against the Golden State Warriors, the Mavericks aim to hone their defensive game. Additionally, they must get more from All-Star duo Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic; although both players have started the season well, it remains uncertain if they can maintain that level of play.