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Mavericks 105, Pacers 94

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks knocked off a second consecutive NBA heavyweight, beating the Indiana Pacers 105-94 Sunday night at American Airlines Center.

Dallas (38-26) beat Indiana by following a similar script to Friday's win over the Portland Trail Blazers: get out to a big lead early, fall behind in the second half and make enough big plays down the stretch.

The Pacers (46-17) would like to get back to the story they authored for the first four months of the season. Indiana dropped its fourth consecutive game, a season-high skid that would have cost the Pacers the top spot in the Eastern Conference if the Miami Heat weren't also slumping.

Mavericks guard Devin Harris, who finished with 20 points, five assists and four steals off the bench, came up huge in the fourth quarter. Dallas guard Monta Ellis also scored 20 and grabbed eight rebounds. All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki struggled through a 3-for-14 shooting night, but he still scored 14 and added eight boards.

Indiana forward Paul George had game highs in points (27) and rebounds (11). Guard Lance Stephenson scored 21, but he had only three in the second half. Pacers guard George Hill added 20 points.

The Dallas bench outscored its Indiana counterpart 41-4. Dallas reserve guard Vince Carter had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Much like the Portland game, the Mavericks came out firing against the Pacers. A 3-pointer from Nowitzki gave Dallas a 14-4 lead and coaxed a timeout from Indiana coach Frank Vogel.

The Pacers were taking poor shots late in the shot clock throughout the first half, and they went scoreless for nearly five minutes from late in the first quarter to early in the second.

The Mavericks were up 12 at the end of the first period (30-18) and took as much as a 35-18 lead in the second. And just as they did two nights prior, the Mavs squandered that advantage.

The Pacers outscored Dallas 14-2 over the last four minutes of the half to trail just 48-45 at the break. Stephenson had 18 points going into the locker room.

George, in foul trouble in the first half, opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to tie the game. Indiana went up 55-50 before Dallas charged back ahead with a 20-5 run.

The Mavericks led by 10 midway through the fourth quarter when Indiana made another push. The Pacers had the ball looking for a tie when Ellis forced a turnover and Harris converted a three-point play.

Harris also knocked down a 3-pointer in the last minute that salted the game away and have Dallas a two-game season sweep over Indiana.

NOTES: The Mavericks holds a one-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies for a playoff spot. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle isn't the only one stressing the importance of every game down the stretch. "It's that close," he said. "You're either feeling great about it or it's a really tough, tough night." ... Indiana arrived in Dallas having allowed an average of 110 points per game since the All-Star break. ... Carlisle coached the Pacers for three years, going 181-147 and leading the team to the playoffs each season. His 61-21 record in 2002-03 remains the franchise record for wins. ... After Sunday's game, Dallas F Dirk Nowitzki trails John Havlicek by 13 points for 12th on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

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