Donald Sloan showed his hometown fans how he has bolstered the depleted Indiana Pacers.
Sloan scored 29 points and seven Pacers scored in double figures in a 111-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.
Sloan, who played at nearby Seagoville High School, fell only two points short of the career high that he set Nov. 5 against Washington. He earned a starting spot with Indiana’s roster decimated by injuries and is averaging 13.4 points after never exceeding 5.5 in his three previous NBA seasons.
“I never doubted myself whether I was in the D-League, China, wherever, not even dressing half the time,” Sloan said. “I was always told, `You’re going to get a legitimate opportunity to show what you can do.’ When that opportunity comes, you’ve just got to show.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel having Sloan as the starting point guard is a big reason why Indiana has been able to weather troubles down the stretch in games like it did against the Mavericks.
The Pacers led the entire second half, and set a season high in points and equaled their season high in field-goal percentage (48.1). They went into the game ranked 28th in the NBA averaging 90.9 points per game and hadn’t cracked triple figures since beating Philadelphia in their opener 103-91.
The Pacers got a double-double from Luis Scola (14 points, 11 rebounds). They played without center Roy Hibbert, who sprained his left ankle Saturday, adding to Indiana’s injury woes.
Paul George was lost for the season in August with a broken leg while David West (ankle) and George Hill (bruised knee) have yet to play this season.
“They’re getting an opportunity,” Vogel said of his healthy players. “They’ve stayed confident, they’re working on their game and they’re taking advantage of that. They’ve been rewarded for their hard work.”
The Mavericks, who have lost two straight for the first time this season, were led by Monta Ellis with 24 points.
Dirk Nowitzki added 22 points and team-high 11 rebounds.
Indiana built a 98-86 lead with 8:28 to play on a 3-pointer by Damjan Rudez, but Dallas began to chip away at the lead. The Mavericks scored the next seven points and held the Pacers scoreless for 4:30. But Indiana outscored Dallas 10-5 the rest of the way with three-pointers by Sloan and Rodney Stuckey putting the game out of reach.
Dallas, which went into the game leading the league averaging 109.9 points, hit only one field goal over the final 7:17.
“You can’t always try to outscore the other team every single night,” said Mavericks center Tyson Chandler, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12. “Some nights, you’re going to rely on your defense.”
“When you get outscored in every quarter, that’s a demolition,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “It was a physical demotion.”
Pacers: Vogel said he’s unsure of Hibbert’s status for Wednesday’s game at Houston. . Three of Indiana’s starters Monday had fewer than 16 career NBA starts going into this season.
Mavericks: Guard Ricky Ledo was recalled from Dallas’ D-League affiliate in suburb Frisco after playing two home games last weekend. . . Owner Mark Cuban graduated from Indiana University but said he didn’t attend Pacers games then and only went to Market Square Arena for a Beach Boys concert.
With Raymond Felton having served a four-game suspension for gun charges levied against him last season in New York, the Mavericks have four point guards. Carlisle doesn’t think he’ll face a challenge in doling out playing time. “The players determine the minutes, by being ready, by how they play in games,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got a good situation.” Felton wasn’t activated for Monday’s game.
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