INDIANAPOLIS — Kristaps Porzingis looks as if he's rounding into form.
The timing couldn't be better for Dallas.
On Wednesday, the All-Star forward scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both season highs, to help the Mavericks take control late in the third quarter before pulling away for a 124-112 victory at Indiana.
``Four of my first five baskets were just layups off great passes from my teammates,'' Porzingis said. ``Look, tonight was one of those nights where it just came easy. A lot of good looks, a lot of layups. Glad we got the win.''
It sure hadn't been easy for Porzingis until Wednesday. He missed the Mavs' first nine games after having surgery on his right knee. Then, after winning in his season debut last Wednesday, Dallas lost its next three _ its longest skid in nearly two years.
But with Luka Doncic delivering another triple double _ 13 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists _ and Porzingis taking advantage inside, the Mavs turned things around.
``Tonight, it was all about the fight,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ``Our communication was there, we were able to stay disciplined and look, Porzingis was terrific.''
The short-handed Pacers have lost two straight by double digits, their two most lopsided losses of the season. Malcolm Brogdon had 26 points and Domantis Sabonis finished with 25 points and nine rebounds, ending his streak of consecutive double-doubles at 13.
But Porzingis was the biggest problem.
He scored all of the points in a crucial 9-2 third-quarter run that helped the Mavs maintain their momentum. Jalen Brunson's basket to end the quarter gave Dallas a 93-92 lead.
The Mavs opened the fourth on an 11-3 run to rebuild a 104-95 lead, and they gradually extended the margin to seal it.
``We weren't able to recover from that,'' Brogdon said of the early fourth-quarter run. ``We went down seven and they were able to build on that lead a little bit.''
Mavericks: Doncic appeared to hurt his left knee three times during the game. He limped around briefly each time but still managed to finish the game. ... Trey Burke scored 22 points off the bench. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19 points. ... The Mavs are 5-1 when scoring at least 110 points.
Pacers: Newly acquired guard Caris LeVert sat on Indiana's bench and received a warm welcome from the small crowd when he was introduced late in the first half. ... Center Myles Turner, the NBA leader in blocks, sat out with a fractured right hand. ... Doug McDermott had 12 points and Aaron Holiday finished with 11. ... Brogdon also had five assists.
Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb made his season debut with 55.8 seconds left in the first quarter.
He hadn't played tearing the anterior cruciate ligament, the medical collateral ligament and suffering a fractured femur _ the bone just above the knee _ Feb. 23, 2020. Lamb was perfect in the first half, going 4 of 4 from the field, including one 3 while making his only free throw. He missed his final four shots, finishing with 10 points in 19 minutes.
``It's been a long process,'' he said. ``I had a lot going through my head. I was nervous, anxious. just wanted to help the team. Just a lot of different emotions, but i was really excited.''
THEY'RE BACK, TOO
Indiana also played its first game in front of a larger group of fans, and the crowds are expected to grow over the next several weeks.
When Toronto plays at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday and Monday, Indiana can have up to 1,000 fans in attendance. The county health department has capped the capacity at 4,500, and the Pacers have said they will consider moving toward that number following Monday's game.
Mavericks: Play at San Antonio on Friday, the final stop on a three-game road trip.
Pacers: Host Orlando on Friday after sweeping the Magic last season.