Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/6

Game 1: Tuesday, December 6th
Game 2: Monday, December 26th

Pacers 80

(15-10, 6-7 away)

Mavericks 102

(21-7, 11-3 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:30 PM ET, December 26, 2005

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
IND 20 21 20 1980
DAL 26 24 30 22102

Top Performers

Ind: J. O'Neal 15 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Blk

Dal: D. Harris 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

Harris, Stackhouse lead Mavs past Pacers in highlight-reel game

DALLAS (AP) -- Between Devin Harris swishing a 20-footer that was supposed to be a pass and Jerry Stackhouse taking off for a powerful dunk that showed how healthy his knee is, the Dallas Mavericks moved to the top of the Western Conference with a flourish Monday night.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points and Harris added 12 of his 20 in a first-quarter run that sent the Mavericks racing past the Indiana Pacers 102-80 in a game that was never close in the second half.

The victory improved Dallas to 21-7, matching the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the West. The Mavericks earned this one by simply outworking the Pacers -- grabbing 14 of the first 18 rebounds, taking 11 of the first 12 free throws and snatching seven of the first eight steals.

"We seemed to have a lot of energy tonight," Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "I gave them [two days] off and they gave me one back by responding with energy and concentration pretty much throughout the whole game. It's pretty rare for us to play that long of a stretch of good basketball."

The Mavericks have won 11 of 13, with both losses to the Lakers in games when Kobe Bryant scored 43 and 62 points. And they've done it without having the top of their expected rotation playing together at all this season.

Stackhouse, playing only his second game, had 15 points in 19 minutes, but it came with Keith Van Horn out because of the flu and Marquis Daniels missing his third straight with a neck problem. Josh Howard, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds, hurt his lower back and was examined by team doctors in the locker room afterward.

"It got to the point where I couldn't move," he said.

The Pacers lost their second straight and fell to 5-3 since making Ron Artest inactive. They'll try to avoid an 0-3 road trip Tuesday night in San Antonio. The starters will have plenty of energy, as none played more than 35 minutes, with coach Rick Carlisle emptying the bench with 6:43 left.

Indiana led 2-0, then never again. The Pacers were down only nine at halftime, but a few minutes into the third quarter the deficit hit 10 and kept growing, peaking at 29. They had 11 turnovers by halftime, four of them traveling, en route to their second-biggest loss of the season.

"They played great and we didn't give them much of a game tonight," Carlisle said. "Our margin for error is slim. We can't have any slippage. Our rebounding was a disappointment. We've got to do better."

Jermaine O'Neal led Indiana with 15 points. Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley scored 12 and Austin Croshere 11.

The Mavericks finished with a 49-30 rebounding edge, despite a season-low two from Nowitzki. Erick Dampier tied his season high with 14 boards; he had 10 at halftime, more than he'd had in any of his previous five games.

"We had chances early, but they hurt us on the offensive boards," Croshere said. "They get out on the break and we feed that when we turn the ball over like we did.' ... It's hard to get anything out of a game like this. We've got a big character game tomorrow in San Antonio."

The game was tied at 16 when Harris entered. He made 6-of-7 shots the rest of the quarter, leading a 15-7 run that included a basket on what was meant to be an alley-oop pass to Stackhouse. Harris sheepishly held up three fingers in hopes of it being ruled a 3-pointer. He did his best to hide a grin, slightly shaking his head as if saying he couldn't believe what had happened.

"It's happened before," Harris said. "I guess I'm not that good of a lob passer."

Playing at home for the first time this season, Stackhouse entered to a nice ovation midway through the first quarter. Late in the third, he had a burst of eight of Dallas' 10 points, starting with a jumper then driving through the defense and leaping over two Pacers for a dunk that got most in the building on their feet.

He was headed to the rim again the next time down the court and was taken down hard by Fred Jones. He made a steal on the other end soon after.

"Hopefully this is the start of something really good for me," he said.

Game notes

This was Dallas' biggest margin of victory ever against Indiana. ... The Pacers' worst loss this season was by 32 to Charlotte on Nov. 16. ... Nowitzki didn't have a rebound until the 33rd of his 34 minutes. ... Stackhouse has a 360-piece tub of bubble gum that he put in his locker when the season began. He'd almost finished it before finally getting into the lineup ... Indiana lists Artest as being inactive because of a "sore right wrist."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 80 102
FGM-FGA 29-72 (.403) 37-78 (.474)
3PM-3PA 4-12 (.333) 2-5 (.400)
FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 26-32 (.813)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-30 19-49
Assists 13 17
Turnovers 16 12
Steals 4 9
Blocks 2 6
Fast Break Points 15 21
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 20 (1/0)
Largest Lead 2 29

Top Performers

Jermaine O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 15
Reb: 2
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 2
Devin Harris Harris
Points: 20
Reb: 6
Ast: 5
Stl: 1
Blk: 0