DALLAS (AP) — Tyrese Haliburton gets to celebrate twice after winning a duel of birthday boys with Luka Doncic.
Hey, such are the spoils for the leap day babies.
Haliburton scored 32 points, Myles Turner added 24 against his hometown team and the Indiana Pacers beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-122 on Tuesday night.
“It’s not really my birthday, but I’ll take it,” said the 23-year-old Haliburton, born on Feb. 29, 2000. “We’ll celebrate it today. We’ll celebrate tomorrow. I get both days, but I don’t get a real day.”
The Mavericks don’t have much to celebrate.
Doncic had 39 points and nine rebounds on his 24th birthday but fell to 1-4 in games with Kyrie Irving since the superstars were paired in a deal with Brooklyn before the trade deadline.
Irving scored 16 points, but his 3-pointer just before the buzzer was the last of five misses from deep in the final two minutes with Dallas trailing by two.
A second consecutive loss for the Mavericks came two days after they allowed the biggest comeback in the NBA this season, squandering a 27-point lead in a 111-108 loss to Los Angeles Lakers.
“I think we should be talking about the whole team because we play as a team,” Doncic said. “We win, we lose as a team. It’s not just about two players.”
Haliburton was 9 of 18 from the field and 12 of 15 on free throws while adding seven rebounds and six assists.
Turner went 10 of 13 with several big fourth-quarter buckets as the Pacers shot 53%. It was the sixth time in eight games for a Dallas opponent to shoot at least 50% since the Mavs gave up their best defensive player (Dorian Finney-Smith) in the deal for Irving.
Turner also had four blocks, including one each on Doncic and Irving in the second half, as the Pacers won their second straight road game after going two months without one, an 11-game skid.
They are just 5-17 since reaching a season-high five games over .500 on Jan. 8, and have more to build on after beating a Dallas team scrambling to stay in a tight Western Conference playoff race.
“We’re battling ourselves for a playoff spot,” Turner said. “Our playoffs started right after the All-Star break. Every game matters for us, and I think we’re going out there and playing like it.”
Indiana coach Rick Carlisle won in his second trip to Dallas since a 13-year run as coach of the Mavs, which included the 2011 championship. The Pacers lost 132-105 last season.
Dallas cut a nine-point deficit with four minutes remaining to one but couldn’t finish the rally.
After Andrew Nembhard missed two free throws with 7.6 seconds left, the Mavericks ran a play for Irving without Doncic touching the ball. Irving’s 3 bounced off the rim, leaving him 0 of 4 from deep.
Pacers: The morning shootaround was at Buddy Hield’s Dallas home, where the Indiana guard built a practice court. Players weren’t aware of the plan when the bus headed away from the arena. “The people that know Dallas are like, ‘What’s going on here?’ So, we pull up. And it was great,” Carlisle said. … A 70-point first half became a 69-59 lead when a Haliburton 3-pointer was changed to a 2.
Mavericks: This was the first of consecutive games against teams Dallas hasn’t seen this season. The Pacers and Philadelphia will be consecutive road opponents on a five-game trip that starts in late March. … Maxi Kleber, who had been out since Dec. 12 with a torn hamstring, had a driving one-handed dunk for his first bucket and made his first 3, but he had one of the five misses from deep late. He scored nine points.
Pacers: At San Antonio on Thursday, with the Spurs going for their first two-game season sweep since 2016-17.
Mavericks: The visit from the 76ers on Thursday features the league’s top two scorers in Doncic and Joel Embiid.