8:30 PM ET, March 28, 2013
American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
However, all Pacers coach Frank Vogel could talk about was his top-ranked defense.
George had 24 points and eight rebounds and the Pacers broke open a close game in the third quarter to beat the Mavericks 103-78 on Thursday night.
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The Pacers heard all the buzz about .500 beards and Omar the barber. They made sure Omar's clippers didn't do any buzzing in the Mavericks' locker room Thursday night, writes Tim MacMahon. Story
With the game tied at half, the Pacers outscored the Mavericks 34-17 in the third. George had eight points in a 20-5 run to open the second half.
Vogel said his team's defense allowed Indiana to pull away in the second half.
"Our defensive effort keeps getting better and better," Vogel said. "I'm very impressed with how dialed-in our guys are and how disciplined they're playing on the defensive end."
The Central Division-leading Pacers won their fourth straight and have a half-game lead for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Indiana is 2-0 on a four-game Western Conference trip. The Pacers beat the Houston Rockets 100-91 on Wednesday night.
"It was great win," George said. "For us to come out and match their same intensity was huge, especially on their floor."
"Having a dud like this on our home floor is definitely disheartening," Dallas center Elton Brand said.
Nowitzki and five of his teammates have grown out beards since early February and vowed not to shave until the Mavericks (35-37) got back to .500.
Those unshaven Mavericks will have to put their razors away for at least a few more days, as Indiana denied Dallas a chance to even its record for the first time since Dec. 12.
Pacers center Roy Hibbert didn't want the Mavericks to pull out the clippers just yet.
"We heard something about them wanting to shave or doing something like that," Hibbert said. "We wanted to shut that (stuff) down to begin with. They wanted to get to .500, so they gave us their best effort in the first half. Whatever gimmick they need to rally themselves, that's fine."
Hibbert had 16 points and 11 rebounds one night after scoring a season-high 28 against Houston, and Tyler Hansbrough added 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Indiana, which announced before the game that former All-Star forward Danny Granger will have season-ending left knee surgery.
David West scored seven points in his return for the Pacers after missing six games with a lower back strain.
The Pacers outrebounded the Mavericks 55-34 and scored 15 second chance points. Dallas suffered its 11th loss of 20 points or more this season.
"It was a wipeout for us as far as the rebounding," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "That's been a challenge for us."
George Hill hit a 3-pointer to start the second half and break a 41-all halftime tie.
George hit a 21-footer to push Indiana's lead to 49-42. Indiana closed the 20-5 run with a couple of layups from Hill and a jumper from Ian Mahinmi to make it 61-46 midway through the third.
George scored 13 points in the third. He finished 10-of-17 from the field and had six assists and three steals.
Mahinmi closed the third with a dunk off a pass from Orlando Johnson as the Pacers outscored the Mavericks 34-17 in the third.
Dallas, which got no closer than 10 points in the fourth, dropped to 3-2 on its six-game homestand. The Mavericks close out their longest home stay of the season Saturday against the Chicago Bulls, who ended Miami's 27-game winning streak Wednesday night.
The Mavericks fell to 10-5 in March. ... The Pacers have held 10 straight opponents under 100 points. ... Justin Dentmon made his first appearance for Dallas after signing a 10-day contract Monday.
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 28: George Hill #3 of the Indiana Pacers shoots against Mike James #13 of the Dallas Mavericks...(Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
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MVP: Paul George loves Dallas. Last season, he scored 30 when visiting the Mavs. This season, he had 13 of his 24 points in the third quarter, when the Pacers outscored Dallas 34-17. Just for good measure, he added eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Defining moment: Coming out of the half tied at 41, the Pacers opened the third quarter 8-1, then extended it to a 20-5 run over the first six minutes of the half. Indy never looked back in a dominating win.
That was ... crucial for the Pacers. Indiana is in a dogfight with the New York Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the East, but have by far the tougher remaining schedule. By winning the first two games of a four-game West Coast swing, they've kept pace with the streaking Knicks.
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