Trying my absolute hardest to see the silver lining in the Pacers' 105-94 loss to the Mavs in Dallas tonight. First of all, Miami lost their third-straight, to the Bulls in OT, keeping the Pacers 1.5 games ahead in the East but with the same number of losses. Oklahoma City also got stunned by the Lakers, meaning the NBA's most consistent team, San Antonio, now has the league's best overall record.
The Pacers were still sloppy, turning the ball a pathetic 20 times and negating the 48% shooting they had on the night. The defense was better but still a work in progress. That said, they didn't get blown out against a very solid Mavs team that's been playing some inspired ball as of late. The effort was there tonight and there are signs that the Pacers could be starting to turn the corner.
Paul George was in foul trouble in the second half, a big reason why the Mavs went on a run to take the lead in the third, but still finished with 27 points on 8-14 shooting to go with 11 rebounds. Roy Hibbert looked better on offense as well en route to 14 points on 6-9 shooting. George Hill was more aggressive and scored 20, while Lance was hot early and finished with 21 but had 6 costly turnovers. Of the starters, only David West, who usually struggles against Dirk, had a subpar game with just 8 points on 2-9 shooting, including a missed dunk.
But it's the Pacers bench that needs to get its act together. CJ Watson is still out with that elbow injury, but the rest of the guys provided next to nothing with a total of 4 points on a single field goal attempt. Prized new recruit Evan Turner was in foul trouble and had just 2 points in 25 minutes. They need to play better. Period.
It was a tough road trip where the Pacers went 0-3, but now they will finally return home to take on the Celtics on Tuesday. It's the perfect opponent to help the team get back on track before they are given a fantastic opportunity to go on a run with 2 games against the 76ers, wedged around a road game in Detroit.