INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Dirk Nowitzki had 31 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday night, and the Dallas Mavericks pulled away in the closing minutes for an 84-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers, playing their first game at home after a five-game trip out west, cut a 14-point Dallas lead to 75-71 with under 4 minutes remaining.

But Adrian Griffin, Nowitzki and Marquis Daniels hit consecutive baskets for the Mavericks, and after a basket by Indiana’s Ron Artest, Nowitzki put the game out of reach with a 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining. Sarunas Jasikevicius finished the scoring for the Pacers with a pair of free throws.

Devin Harris added 15 points and Keith Van Horn had 11 for Dallas. Jermaine O’Neal led Indiana with 25 points and 13 rebounds, and Artest added 15 points and five steals.

The Pacers, appearing tired from their longest road trip of the season, missed 11 of their first 14 shots and were constantly beaten to the boards and loose balls.

Nowitzki had 17 points in the first half, including four in an 8-2 run that put the Mavericks in control midway through the first quarter. The Pacers, who never led and managed only one tie, went more than 6 minutes without a field goal and trailed by eight before the first basket by O’Neal, who missed his first five attempts.

Indiana cut the lead to five points early in the second period, but a fast-break basket and free throw by Harris and two more free throws by Van Horn pushed the Mavericks’ lead to 33-23.

A late flurry kept Indiana close, but Artest missed two free throws with less than a second left in the half to keep the Dallas lead at 46-40 at the break. The Pacers’ cold shooting continued in the third quarter, when they missed their first seven shots. Three quick baskets by Nowitzki helped give the Mavericks a 54-42 lead.

Dallas took its biggest lead at 71-57 on a 3-pointer by Darrell Armstrong early in the fourth quarter.

Notes: Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sat at the end of the Dallas bench, shouting at the Pacers and the officials throughout the game. Across the court was Stephen Hilbert, founder and former chairman of Conseco Ind., for which Conseco Fieldhouse is named. … Jason Terry, the second-leading scorer for Dallas, did not play because of a strained right hamstring from Monday night’s 102-94 victory over Chicago. … Rookie Danny Granger made his first start for Indiana and had career highs with nine points and seven rebounds. … Dallas had lost three straight games at Indiana. … The Mavericks are 11-1 this season when leading after three quarters and 7-0 when Nowitzki has scored at least 30 points.

AP-ES-12-06-05 2146EST

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