Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/8

Game 1: Saturday, January 8th
Game 2: Friday, February 4th

Mavericks 94

(30-15, 13-7 away)

Pacers 95

(21-24, 11-11 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:00 PM ET, February 4, 2005

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 26 26 18 2494
IND 32 27 19 1795

Top Performers

Dal: D. Nowitzki 32 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

Ind: A. Johnson 21 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Dirk's unintentional made FT allows Indy to run out clock

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Those two games Anthony Johnson missed with the flu are just a distant memory now. So is the Indiana Pacers' longest losing streak in two years.

Making only his fifth start this season, Johnson was perfect from the field, scored a season-high 21 points and hit two free throws in the closing seconds to clinch Indiana's 95-94 victory over Dallas on Friday night.

The win ended Indiana's six-game losing streak, which included two games with Johnson sidelined by the flu last week.

"I think we were just playing with a high energy level, playing with a sense of urgency," said Johnson, who hit all seven of his field-goal attempts, including three 3-pointers. "We lost six in a row, and it was time for us to step up and show what we are made of."

The two free throws by Johnson with 4.6 seconds left gave Indiana a 95-92 lead, and he intentionally fouled Dirk Nowitzki to avoid the possibility of a tying 3-pointer. Nowitzki made the first free throw, then accidentally banked the second one in after trying to miss in hopes of a rebound.

As Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pounded a chair behind the Dallas bench, the Pacers inbounded the ball and ran out the clock.

"Dallas is not known for their defense, and there were going to be opportunities out there tonight," said Johnson, whose previous high this season was 16 points. "I haven't been shooting the ball well, and I felt like it was finally coming around the corner."

Nowitzki led Dallas with 32 points, Jerry Stackhouse added 21 and Michael Finley had 13. Jermaine O'Neal had 23 points and Fred Jones and Austin Croshere added 14 each for the Pacers, who played short-handed with two starters injured and a third, Stephen Jackson, serving a one-game suspension for berating officials at the end of Wednesday night's loss to Toronto.

"It's a challenge for us every single night," O'Neal said. "We're short-handed every single night (because of the Detroit brawl-related suspension of Ron Artest), and I think people seem to forget that.

"We wanted to come out and get a good start."

The Pacers, just as they did against Toronto, got off quickly, scoring the first nine points. They still led 27-18 after a basket by O'Neal, but the Mavericks began chipping into the lead after Indiana's first major round of substitutions.

A 3-pointer by reserve Eddie Gill kept Indiana ahead 32-24, but Nowitzki scored the final basket of the opening period, and a 3-pointer by Finley finished a 14-2 run that put Dallas ahead early in the second quarter.

That's when the Pacers brought their starters back. O'Neal then hit two free throws and Fred Jones made a 3-pointer to start a 17-6 Indiana run, and the Pacers kept their lead at five to seven points the rest of the half. Dallas came within four early in the third quarter, but Johnson hit another 3-pointer and a layup. Then, after Erick Dampier left with his fourth foul, O'Neal hit two straight over backup Alan Henderson to give Indiana its biggest lead at 72-61.

The Pacers matched that twice more before Nowitzki led the final comeback.

"Anthony Johnson probably played his best game of the year," said Dallas assistant Avery Johnson, still subbing for recuperating coach Don Nelson. "We couldn't find any kind of combination that worked until late in the game.

"That first quarter really set the tone," he said.

Game notes

Indiana put F Jonathan Bender on the injured list because of a sore right knee and activated rookie C David Harrison, who had been out since Jan. 14 with a concussion. ... The Pacers also were without injured starters Jeff Foster and Jamaal Tinsley. ... The Mavericks have lost five of their past seven games at Indiana. ... It was only the second loss for Dallas in 15 games in which Nowitzki has scored at least 30 points. ... The Pacers were 9-of-24 from 3-point range (38 percent), including 4-of-5 in the first quarter. Dallas had held opponents to a league-low 32 percent for the season. ... Indiana's Reggie Miller played 32 minutes, passing John Havlicek for sixth place with 46,478 career minutes. ... It was Indiana's third straight game decided by one point. ... Anthony Johnson's three assists gave him 1,002 for his seven-year career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 94 95
FGM-FGA 35-80 (.438) 31-74 (.419)
3PM-3PA 4-10 (.400) 9-24 (.375)
FTM-FTA 20-29 (.690) 24-28 (.857)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-48 10-42
Assists 15 17
Turnovers 12 13
Steals 8 9
Blocks 2 3
Fast Break Points 7 9
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (1/0) 21 (1/0)
Largest Lead 3 11

Top Performers

Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 32
Reb: 7
Ast: 4
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Anthony Johnson Johnson
Points: 21
Reb: 4
Ast: 3
Stl: 1
Blk: 0