There must be something about facing NBA playoff-caliber teams on the road that brings out the resolve in the Indiana Pacers.
Despite not having a single starter in uniform from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals team, the Pacers defeated their third 2013-14 playoff team away from home with a stunning 111-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Monday night at American Airlines Center.
The Pacers (6-8), beginning a stretch of six of seven road games, have already celebrated successful road trips to Miami and Chicago.
Indiana hit a season-high 13 3-pointers and equaled its best shooting percentage of 48.1 (37-of-77) as seven players scored in double digits, led by point guard Donald Sloan’s 29 points.
The 111 points were also a season best, and just the second time the team has cracked 100 (103-91 over still-winless Philadelphia at home in the season opener). The Pacers entered 28th in scoring at 90.9 points per game while the Mavericks were No. 1 at 109.9 points per game, but Dallas managed only one field goal in the last 7 minutes, 17 seconds.
The other time the Pacers shot 48.1 percent was a 99-90 road victory over the Bulls on Nov. 15. Indiana never tailed in the second half.
Sloan thrilled his hometown fans by hitting 10-of-14 shots including three 3-pointers to finish two points shy of his career high, set earlier this season at Washington. The fourth-year pro, who has played in the NBA Development League as well as China to keep his career afloat, started out at Seagoville High School in Dallas.
Despite not having the services of injured center Roy Hibbert, the Pacers’ surprising depth saw Luis Scola score 14, Solomon Hill and Rodney Stuckey 12, Chris Copeland and Damjan Rudez 11 and Ian Mahinmi 10.
The visitors hit half of their 26 3-pointers while Dallas made 8-of-24. Indiana also doubled its hosts at the free throw line, 24-of-36 to the Mavericks’ 12-of-21. The Pacers made five more foul shots than in any other game this season.
The Pacers outrebounded the Mavericks 44-37, the 11th time they’ve had a rebounding advantage. Scola had 11 and reserve forward Lavoy Allen 10.
The Mavericks (10-5), who pushed the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs to the limit in losing a seven-game playoff series last postseason, were led by Monta Ellis with 24 and Dirk Nowitzki with 22.
The Pacers conclude their Texas trip at the Spurs (9-4) Wednesday night.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.