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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Rapid reaction: Pacers 102, Mavs 89

By Jeff Caplan

How it happened: Dallas Maverickscoach Rick Carlisle was right. The Indiana Pacers were happy to see his struggling, shorthanded team.

Carlisle tried to mix things up by starting little-used center Alexis Ajinca at power forward and returning Jason Terry to the bench. It worked to the extent that Terry led the team in scoring with 18 points, but he didn't have a great shooting night, making 9-of-20 from the field and missing his only two 3-point attempts.

Otherwise it was another slow offensive night as Dirk Nowitzki missed his eighth consecutive game with a sprained right knee. The Mavs shot just 41.3 percent from the floor -- although they were strong from 3-point range at 9-of-22. Terry led five Mavs in double figures, but none had more than 13 points. Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd both had 13, Shawn Marion finished with 12 and DeShawn Stevenson had 10.

Newly signed Sasha Pavlovic saw his first game action and recorded two points, an assist, a steal and two blocks in 16 minutes.

The Pacers shot just 44.6 percent and weren't good behind the arc, making just 8-of-33, but Brandon Rush scored 20 and Danny Granger and Darren Collison had 17 points each.

For the third consecutive game, the Mavs got off to a fast start offensively and led 26-25 after one quarter and were tied 52-52 at the half. And, in what is becoming a trend, Dallas had little going in the second half, scoring 17 points in the third quarter, the difference in the game, and 37 in the second half.

Kidd's 3-pointer made it 93-87, but the Mavs couldn't get any closer. Indiana kept rebooting down the stretch, funneling seemingly every loose rebound for extra possessions, and it was easy to see the frustration building among the Mavs. The Pacers outrebounded the Mavs, 46-41.

What it means: The Mavs suffered their second three-game losing streak without Dirk Nowitzki and fell to 2-6 without him. It doesn't get any easier as the four-game road trip heads to San Antonio on Friday night for the season's third matchup of the season. It is possible that Nowitzki could make his return, but it certainly is not a given.

Stat of the night: Jason Kidd entered Wednesday's game with 1,718 career 3-pointers, tied for fourth all-time with Peja Stojakovich and just one behind Dale Ellis. Kidd made of 4 of 7 from 3-point land against the Pacers to move into third place all alone on the all-time list. Now with 1,722, Kidd will have to hit a whole heck of a lot of 3s if he's going to catch Ray Allen at No. 2. Entering Wednesday's games, Allen had made 2,522. Reggie Miller will hold the 3-point title for a little longer. He made 2,560 in his career.