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Pacers fall going into break

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Paul George had another tough night, but this time the Indiana Pacers couldn’t overcome it.

The result was an 81-73 loss Wednesday night against the visiting Dallas Mavericks.

Mired in a nearly month-long shooting slump, George managed only 12 points on a 4-of-17 night from the field.

The NBA’s 10th-leading scorer heading in at 22.4 points per game, he has scored below his average in nine of the past 10 games.

But George wasn’t the only player who struggled on a miserable offensive night for the Pacers. His performance only typified it.

Shooting a season-low 32 percent from the field as a team, the Pacers’ 73 points were also a season-low. So were their 27 field goals.

Moreover, the Pacers committed 16 turnovers, including six in the fourth quarter that helped turn what had been a 62-60 lead at the start of the period into only their third home loss of the season.

Suffice it to say, it was not how the Pacers (40-12) wanted to finish the game before the All-Star break. Sluggish and lethargic throughout, they never got their offense on track and, for one of the few times all season, didn’t get enough production from other players when George’s didn’t fall.

George Hill led the soft offense with 14 points. Lance Stephenson and Danny Granger had 13 apiece, and David West had 12.

Roy Hibbert, who will represent the East All-Stars with George, made only 2 of 6 shots for four points.

Although the Mavericks (32-22) weren’t much better offensively, they got enough from their two star players — Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis — to break a three-game losing streak against the Pacers. It also was their first win in Bankers Life Fieldhouse since Nov. 27, 2009.

Ellis had team-high totals of 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots. Nowitzki finished with 18 points, six rebounds, two steals and one block. Vince Carter, with 11 points off the bench, was the only other Dallas player in double figures.

Dallas, which has won six of its past seven games, shot only 35 percent from the field but outscored the Pacers 21-11 in the fourth quarter.

With the loss, the Pacers enter the break with the NBA’s second best record, falling behind the 40-12 Oklahoma City Thunder. They have won five of their past seven games and still have the league’s best home record at 25-3.

Indiana’s next game is Feb. 18 against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.

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