INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — With All-Star starter Luka Doncic sidelined by a sprained right ankle for the third consecutive game, Kristaps Porzingis provided the offensive firepower for Dallas.
The 7-foot-3 Porzingis scored a season-high 38 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Mavericks to a 112-103 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
“That’s something in the future I want to figure out, how I can be effective also when Luka is playing,” Porzingis said. “It’s something we’ve been working on. I’m in a good rhythm now and I want to keep it going. I think we’re playing pretty good basketball, we’re moving the ball, playing aggressive.”
Porzingis shot 6 of 13 on 3-pointers and made all 12 of his free throws. The six 3-pointers tied a career high.
It wasn’t a perfect night for Porzingis, though. He wasn’t pleased with his defense on Domantas Sabonis, who scored 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
“I take a lot of pride in my defense and I feel like Sabonis made some good moves on me,” Porzingis said. “He got deep in the paint. I was a half-step late on a lot of those shots. I’m disappointed in that sense, but I’m glad we got the win.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed 25 points for Dallas.
Sabonis fell just short of a triple-double, finishing with 12 rebounds and nine assists. Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points for the Pacers.
Victor Oladipo hit a 3-pointer for Indiana with five seconds left in the third quarter to close the deficit to 82-77.
The Pacers cut the margin to 96-93 on a three-point play by Sabonis with 5:09 left, but the Mavericks were able to maintain control. Porzingis sank two free throws with 32 seconds remaining to make it 110-103.
“When we were able to get back into the game, we would have a breakdown on the perimeter and they would get to the basket or get to the free throw line,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “They made big shots to stop our runs.”
After missing the first 47 games of the season while rehabbing a ruptured quadriceps tendon in his right knee, Oladipo has struggled with his shooting since returning last week. He was 4 of 17 from the field against the Mavericks, including 1 for 10 from 3-point range, after going 4 of 22 overall and 2 for 11 on 3s in the previous two games. Oladiapo had been sidelined since getting injured on Jan. 23, 2019.
“I feel like I’m taking great shots,” Oladipo said. “I just can’t think about it. Just got to keep shooting. I’ve missed, obviously, a lot of basketball and maybe the rhythm might be off a little bit coming in and out as far as the minutes restriction.”
The Pacers shot 52% in taking a 55-53 lead at halftime. Dallas shot 42.9% but nearly made up the difference by going 9 for 20 on 3s while Indiana was 4 of 18.
For the game, the Mavericks shot 41.9% from the floor and 40% on 3s. The Pacers shot 46% and 21% on 3s.
The Mavericks held a 51-40 rebounding edge, including 30-20 in the second half.
Dallas hit 22 of 23 free throws. The Pacers were 8 of 11.
With Doncic out, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the team’s style changes. Doncic, averaging 28.8 points per game, previously missed four games with a right ankle sprain earlier this season.
“We just go to a more free-flowing style. We call less plays,” Carlisle said. “We’ve done this enough now where guys are really getting a feel for how to play with each other when Luka’s out. We need him back, but these guys are doing a great job.”
Mavericks: J.J. Barea sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and did not return. He had three points in nine minutes.
Pacers: T.J. Warren, averaging 18.1 points per game, was sidelined due to concussion protocol. Warren hit his head on the floor in Saturday’s home loss to the New York Knicks. ... The teams play again March 8 in Dallas.
Mavericks: Host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Pacers: Play at Toronto on Wednesday and then return home to face the Raptors on Friday. Indiana won the first meeting with the defending NBA champions 120-115 in overtime at home on Dec. 23.