The Mavericks will welcome former coach Rick Carlisle and his new squad, the Indiana Pacers, to Dallas on Saturday.
Carlisle led the Mavericks from 2008-09 through last season, guiding the team to the 2011 NBA championship along the way. He returned to the Indiana Pacers, the team he coached from 2003-04 through 2006-07, before this season.
The first campaign of Carlisle’s second tenure in Indiana has been rocky. The Pacers needed overtime Friday in Oklahoma City to avoid their third losing streak of at least four games over the past month alone.
Domantas Sabonis fueled Indiana’s 113-110 win over the Thunder with 24 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists. The triple-double came despite Sabonis being listed as questionable ahead of tipoff due to an ankle injury that sidelined him the previous four games.
“Definitely feels better after a win,” Sabonis said of his ankle in the postgame press conference. “To be honest, I couldn’t feel it out there.”
Justin Holiday added 22 points, sinking 4 of 7 from 3-point range, to help pull Indiana out of a three-game skid.
The victory was just the Pacers’ fourth since Dec. 26, a stretch spanning 17 games.
On Saturday, Indiana will seek to start just its sixth winning streak of the season in a city where its coach enjoyed plenty of success.
“It’s going to be great to see a lot of special people that were a very important part of what we accomplished,” Carlisle said Friday. “There were a lot of great memories.”
While Saturday marks Carlisle’s first time back in Dallas, it is not the first meeting between the Pacers and Mavericks this season. Indiana earned a 106-93 victory over Dallas on Dec. 10, the last victory of the Pacers’ only three-game winning streak of 2021-22.
Sabonis recorded 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in that matchup, while teammate Caris LeVert scored 26 points.
The loss at Indiana ended a stretch in which Dallas dropped nine out of 12. Since then, the Mavericks are 16-8, and they have not lost consecutive games since Dec. 23-25.
One night after surrendering a season-high 130 points in a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, Dallas matched its second-highest scoring total of the season in a 132-112 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
The win marked the third time in the past four games that Dallas allowed more than its 103.3-point per game scoring-defense average, which ranks third in the NBA. However, the points yielded were a tradeoff for the Mavericks’ balanced, efficient offensive performance.
Kristaps Porzingis led Dallas with 22 points at Portland. Jalen Brunson contributed 20 points and 11 assists, and Luka Doncic posted a triple-double with 15 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.
All five Dallas starters scored in double figures against the Trail Blazers, and two reserves — Reggie Bullock and Dwight Powell — added 15 points each.
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd — who averaged 7.9 points and 8.2 assists per game as the starting point guard for the Carlisle-coached NBA championship team in 2010-11 — touted in his postgame press conference the distribution of the ball as a key to the team’s success.
“It’s really simple as I said before the game: If you’re unselfish, communicate and play hard, you put yourself in position to win,” he said.
–Field Level Media