The Dallas Mavericks will aim to regroup on Tuesday when they continue a six-game homestand, hosting an Indiana Pacers group on the second date of a four-game road swing.
Dallas dropped the second game of its home stretch on Sunday, coughing up a lead of as many as 27 points in a 111-108 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“As a team, we’ve got to mature,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said in Sunday’s postgame press conference. “We got a lot of new bodies coming back, and we have to grow up if we want to win a championship. There’s no young team that’s ever won a championship, mentally or physically.”
Dallas embarks on the final weeks of the regular season seeking to overcome the growing pains associated with roster changes — most notably, the addition of Kyrie Irving in a trade that sent Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie to Brooklyn.
After winning their first two with Irving in the lineup, the Mavericks have dropped four of five heading into Tuesday’s matchup. They lost three straight going into the All-Star break, rebounded with a blowout of the last-place San Antonio Spurs last Thursday, then backslid against the Lakers.
A consistent scoring option to complement Irving and Luka Doncic, who is neck-and-neck with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid for the NBA scoring lead at 33.1 points per game, has been missing amid the slide. Sunday’s loss marked the second time in the Mavericks’ last four games in which any of the three starters other than Doncic and Irving failed to score more than six points.
Meanwhile, Indiana comes into Dallas having won its second game in three outings — the team’s best stretch since enduring a brutal spell losing 16 of 18 from Jan. 11 through Feb. 13.
The Pacers were without point guard Tyrese Haliburton for 10 of those 18 games.
Haliburton — whose 10.2 assists per game rank second in the NBA — has consecutive double-doubles since the All-Star break, going for 22 points and 14 assists with three steals in an overtime loss last Wednesday against Boston. He followed up with 15 points and 14 assists in Indiana’s 121-108 win Saturday to open the road trip at Orlando.
Pacers coach Rick Carlisle lauded the offensive chemistry between Haliburton and big man Myles Turner, who scored a game-high 24 points in Saturday’s win.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity for Myles to play with a playmaking guard of Tyrese’s caliber,” Carlisle said. “A couple weeks ago we checked, they were top five or six in the league as a successful pick-and-roll connection.
“Myles is getting all different kinds of stuff,” Carlisle added. “He’s getting rolls for dunk, he’s getting a little bit of mid-range, he’s getting looks at (3-pointers).”
Turner is averaging 18.1 points per game, more than 3.5 ahead of his career’s season-best scoring output. He’s shooting career highs both from 3-point range at 40.2 percent and overall at 54.5 percent from the floor.
His 24 points on Saturday followed tying a career-high with 40 points against Boston.
–Field Level Media