How it happened: The Mavs pulled out a win over an Eastern Conference heavyweight despite an early 17-point lead disappearing and superstar Dirk Nowitzki having an off night.
Nowitzki scored 14 points on only 3-of-14 shooting, matching his worst shooting outing of the season, but five other Mavs finished in double figures. For the second straight game, guard Devin Harris came up huge off the bench, scoring a team-high-tying 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting and dishing out five assists.
Shooting guard Monta Ellis also had 20 points on 6-of-16 shooting, including a couple of dagger jumpers in the final few minutes.
Three Pacers scored at least 20 points -- small forward Paul George (27), shooting guard Lance Stephenson (21) and point guard George Hill (20) -- but Indiana got virtually no production from its second unit.
The Pacers overcame a poor start, rallying from a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to tie the score when George opened the second half with a 3-pointer. George seemed to be taking over the game -- scoring nine points in fewer than three minutes -- when he had to sit after picking up his fourth foul.
Indiana led by four points when George headed to the bench, but the Mavs regained the lead minutes later and didn't give it up after that.
What it means: The Mavs pulled out of their worst slump of the season by sweeping a two-game homestand against playoff competition. After wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and Pacers, the Mavs (38-26) remain a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference standings. The Mavs could wake up in seventh place if the Phoenix Suns lose their late game against the Golden State Warriors. Dallas won both meetings against the Pacers, who lead the East with a 46-17 record but have lost their past four games.
Play of the game: Vince Carter, 37, outfought 23-year-old All-Star George for a critical offensive rebound early in the third quarter. Carter leaped and tipped the ball several times before finally snatching it with both hands, letting out a scream as he secured the board. The result of the extra possession was a Jose Calderon 3-pointer that stretched the Mavs' lead to nine points.
Stat of the night: The Mavs had a 41-4 advantage over the Pacers in bench points.