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Pacers easily win, cover against Mavericks

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Pacers' offense finally matched their impressive defense.

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The result was their biggest win over the Dallas Mavericks in 15 years.

David West and George Hill each scored 15 points to help the Pacers beat the Mavericks 103-83 on Friday night. It was the largest margin of victory for the Pacers in the series since a 104-80 win on March 26, 1997.

West and Hill, the Pacers' top two scorers, had combined for 5-for-19 shooting and 10 points in Wednesday's loss to Milwaukee. On Friday, the Pacers shot 47 percent from the field in their first blowout win of the season. They had gone six games without scoring at least 100 points.

Hill said much of their success against Dallas came from subtle changes by coach Frank Vogel.

``Coach challenged us that we needed to change immediately,'' Hill said. ``He came in with different types of offensive sets that kind of helps us as athletes, who we are on this team, young and athletic. It kind of helped us and challenged us to make plays for others and not just ourselves. I like the direction that we're going.''

Vogel said there was a lot to dislike about the way the offense had been performing.

``I didn't like being 30th (last) in scoring and 30th in field goal offense,'' Vogel said. ``I didn't like guys standing around. I didn't like the speed in which we were running our offense. I didn't like the lack of physicality in our screening. There was a lot to not like. So changes were needed.''

Those changes resulted in Indiana's second-best offensive output of the season. Roy Hibbert and Sam Young scored 14 points apiece for the Pacers, who had lost two straight before beating the Mavericks and their former coach, Rick Carlisle.

Vogel said the Pacers needed a win to keep a positive outlook. Indiana (4-6) improved to 3-1 at home.

``We talked about re-establishing a belief in ourselves as a basketball team, belief in ourselves individually that we're capable to do great things and continuing to believe in our teammates that are struggling,'' Vogel said. ``It's an important element in getting yourself out of a rut and getting a team out of a rut it to continue to trust that we have good players on this team that when the ball's moving and we're sharing it that we're going to be pretty good.''

O.J. Mayo led the Mavericks (5-5) with 19 points. Vince Carter and former Pacer Darren Collison both dropped in 10 points for Dallas.

Dallas led 49-48 at halftime even though Indiana shot 54 percent. The Pacers made just 6 of 14 free throws in the first half and were outrebounded 22-15.

Dallas fell apart after that, being outscored 28-18 in the third quarter.

``The game got away from us,'' Carlisle said. ``A lot of guys got hot. Collectively, I think their collective will was stronger than ours. After a really encouraging first half and a couple minutes in the third quarter, it just went the other way.''

Lance Stephenson's layup early in the second half tied the game at 51, and Hibbert's free throw put the Pacers ahead. Indiana expanded the lead to 59-54 on a 3-pointer by Stephenson.

A 3-pointer by Young pushed the Pacers ahead 70-59 with 4:02 left in the third quarter. Stephenson hit another 3 to make it 75-61 with 2:39 left in the third quarter. Indiana led 76-67 at the end of the period.

Stephenson scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Pacers held the Mavericks to 28 percent shooting in the period.

A three-point play by Gerald Green gave the Pacers an 83-69 lead and a 3-pointer by Young pushed Indiana's lead out to 18 points.

``We put ourselves in good position to win the game in the first half, then we come out and we couldn't stop anything in the second half,'' Mavericks forward Shawn Marion said. ``I don't know why we are doing these things. We can't seem to sustain anything. We are continuing to have lapses, mental lapses.''

Pacers forward Paul George said he hopes the strong performance is the start of a trend. Indiana entered the season as one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference, but the Pacers have struggled to score without Danny Granger, a former All-Star who is out with an injured left knee.

``We don't want to look too far ahead,'' George said. ``We still have a lot of work to do. It's a good start. It looks like we're starting to get things together. We haven't lost hope. We're fine.''

Notes: Two other former Pacers, Troy Murphy and Dahntay Jones, played for the Mavericks. . Marion started for Dallas after being listed as questionable with a strained MCL. He had missed five straight games. He scored two points in 25 minutes. . Stephenson got his fourth consecutive start. . Former Pacers head coach Jim O'Brien is an assistant for the Mavericks. . WWE wrestler The Miz attended the game. He was promoting the Survivor Series, which will take place Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. . Ian Mahinmi, who was traded from Dallas in the offseason, scored seven points and committed four fouls in 12:30 for the Pacers.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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