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Rush Leads Pacers Past Mavs

(Sports Network) – Brandon Rush scored a game-high 20 points, and the Indiana Pacers topped the Dallas Mavericks, 102-89, at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Danny Granger and Darren Collison both finished with 17 points, while Paul George added 16 points in a reserve role for the Pacers, who have won two straight since a three-game skid.

The Pacers also topped the Mavericks for only the second time in their last 11 tries.

“I’m proud of the intensity and effort put forth the last two games,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “It’s two quality back-to-back wins for our team.”

Jason Terry led the Mavericks with 18 points, while Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd both finished with 13. Shawn Marion added 12 points and seven rebounds for Dallas, which is 2-6 since losing forward Dirk Nowitzki to a knee injury on December 27.

The Mavericks held a 26-25 lead after a closely contested first quarter. Terry scored 10 points in the second, but the Pacers used a balanced attack to tie the game at 52 heading into the locker room.

Indiana was up six, 61-55, with a Collison floating jumper at 8:36 of the third. However, after Alexis Ajinca connected on a mid-range basket, Chandler blocked two straight Roy Hibbert jumpers, which led to a Kidd three at 7:48, to cut the deficit to 61-60.

The basket moved Kidd past Dale Ellis for third on the all-time NBA list for three-pointers made (1,720).

After the teams traded baskets, Tyler Hansbrough’s jumper at 6:24 started a 12-4 Indiana run to put the Pacers up 75-66 with three minutes remaining. The Pacers took a 77-69 lead into the final stanza.

After Jose Juan Barea opened up the fourth with a driving layup, George connected on consecutive three-pointers to put the Pacers up 83-71. The Indiana lead never fell below six down the stretch.

“We couldn’t make shots when we needed, and on the other side we couldn’t get stops when we needed,” Kidd said. “[The Pacers] moved the ball and they got big scores when they needed them.”

Game Notes

This was the first of a four-game road trip for Dallas, which includes trips to San Antonio, Memphis and Detroit…The Mavericks have dropped three- straight…Nowitzki’s eight-game absence is the longest of his 12-year career…Kidd is now third behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller on the all-time three-point list…The Pacers are now 10-9 at home this season…Indiana made 20-of-22 from the line.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.