The Mavericks got the type of opponent they needed and the type of performance they needed.
Now, the four-game skid is history.
Luka Doncic scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and just hours after having his 16th technical rescinded by the league office, as Dallas got a much-needed 127-104 road win over the Pacers on Monday.
Had Doncic’s technical not been rescinded, he would have been forced to sit out, per NBA rules. But it was the NBA that said he didn’t deserve the tech in the first place.
And the Mavs (37-39) couldn’t be more thankful, because they need every win they can get these days — as they have fallen out of the playoff picture, at least for the moment. Of course, given the state of the crazy Western Conference, it only takes a win or two to move back into the top five or six spots.
Granted, the Pacers were short-handed, minus the starting backcourt of Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. But for Dallas, a win is a win is a win — and this was pretty much a must.
Kyrie Irving added 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and six assists, and rookie guard Jaden Hardy scored 20 off the bench. Hardy entered the night averaging 8.5 points.
This was hardly a game for most of the night, especially after the Mavs outscored the Pacers by a 70-47 count in the middle two quarters.
So, the Mavs are finally back on the winning track. Now, things are about to get tough again. Or at least tougher.
As Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News wrote: “The rest of this road trip in Philly, Miami and Atlanta will say a lot more about their ability and mettle than tonight, but gotta play ‘em all.”
For the Mavs, playing one and winning it has to feel a lot better than what’s been going lately.
Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?
Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 32 teams!