Pacers 92, Mavericks 80

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DALLAS (AP)—The Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers used a Western Conference-style uptempo offense to beat the Dallas Mavericks at their own game Friday night.

Ron Artest scored 26 points to help the Pacers stretch their winning streak to seven games and improve the NBA’s best record with a 92-80 victory over the Mavericks.

Al Harrington and Jermaine O’Neal added 16 points each, and Jamaal Tinsley had 11 points and 12 assists for the Pacers (28-10).

Indiana’s uptempo offense produced a 25-4 edge in fast-break points, while defensively the Pacers held the Mavericks’ starters to 42 points.

“We were more aggressive offensively,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “You have to be when you play this team.”

Dallas started the night with a 16-2 home mark, second-best in the league to Sacramento’s 18-2.

The Mavericks were outrebounded 54-41 and shot only 36.8 percent (32-for-87) from the field. Dallas started the night averaging 102.3 points, second in the league to Sacramento’s 105.

“A lot of it was their defense,” Mavericks coach Don Nelson said. “We couldn’t get where we wanted and the openings we wanted. And then they block shots in the open court.”

Dirk Nowitzki’s 20 points led the Mavericks, but he had only five in the second half. Antawn Jamison had 19 points and Shawn Bradley added a season-high 12 for the Mavericks, held to a season-low points total at home.

“To lose a game on offense is new for us,” said Nowitzki, who missed 13 of his last 14 shots. “I don’t know what to say. It was a brutal offensive performance.”

Dallas starters Nowitzki, Michael Finley, Steve Nash, Antoine Walker and Danny Fortson missed 31 shots in the second half before Walker’s putback with 2:56 to play.

The Mavericks held a 50-46 lead early in the third quarter before the Pacers went on a 9-0 run as part of a 23-6 spurt to build a 13-point edge.

Artest had a steal and dunk to draw the Pacers even at 50, then Tinsley hit a 3-pointer to give Indiana its first lead of the night. Artest completed the 23-6 run with a 3-pointer for a 69-56 advantage with 3:21 left in the third quarter.

The Pacers carried a 69-63 lead into the fourth quarter in part by shutting down the Mavericks’ uptempo offense.

“For the last two days, transition defense is all we’ve talked about,” Carlisle said. “We wanted to get back and find their shooter at the halfcourt line. We had good effort in that area.”

The Mavericks got as close as 75-69 with 8:39 left on Bradley’s dunk. But the Pacers responded with a 9-0 run capped by Artest’s dunk with 4:22 remaining for an 84-69 edge, closing out the Mavericks.

Dallas got off to an 11-0 start, hitting five of its first six shots while Indiana was missing its first seven.

But the Pacers rallied with a 15-5 run and narrowed the Mavericks’ lead to 26-23 after one quarter.

The Mavericks clung to a 46-44 halftime lead, but Artest had 17 points and six rebounds in the first half and his defense held Finley to 1-of-5 shooting.

“We were a little flat coming out and we missed a few shots,” said Artest, who pulled down 11 rebounds. “We stayed focused because we knew we’d get backin the game with our defense.”

Notes

Indiana pushed its road record to 14-6. … Bradley had missed 10 of the previous 12 games due to back spasms. Soon after entering in the second quarter, he tracked down a loose ball, then passed to Nowitzki for a layup. Bradley had four points, a blocked shot, a rebound, a steal and an assist in 6 1/2 minutes. … The Pacers lost six of their previous nine meetings with theMavericks.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Indiana
R. Artest R. Artest
10-24,  26 Pts
11 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Dallas
D. Nowitzki D. Nowitzki
7-20,  20 Pts
7 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists