INDIANAPOLIS – Kristaps Porzingis looks as if he's rounding into form.
The timing couldn't be better for Dallas.
On Wednesday, the 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.”
He missed the Mavs' first nine games after having surgery on his right knee. Then, after winning in his season debut Jan. 13, 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. Malcolm Brogdon had 26 points and Domantis Sabonis finished with 25 points and nine rebounds, ending his streak of consecutive double-doubles at 13.
Porzingis 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.”
Pacers center Myles Turner, the NBA leader in blocks, sat out with a fractured right hand. But Doug McDermott had 12 points and Aaron Holiday finished with 11.
Guard Jeremy Lamb had 10 points in 19 minutes of his season debut. He hadn't played since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament, the medical collateral ligament and suffering a fractured femur – the bone just above the knee – Feb. 23.
“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.”