3-pointer: Darren Collison struggles in Indiana return

Darren Collison didn’t exactly make the Pacers regret their decision to give his job to George Hill.

Hill stuffed the box score Friday night with 15 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals, making five of his seven shots from the floor against the Mavs.

Collison, whom the Pacers deemed expendable this summer and essentially dumped in the Ian Mahinmi sign-and-trade deal, scored 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting and dished out only four assists.

It was a continuation of Collison’s struggles since a spectacular start with the Mavs. He has shot only 34.6 percent from the floor while Dallas has lost four of its last five games.

Asked if returning to Indiana created any emotions, Collison said, "Not really. I’ve got my own issues worrying about what this team is trying to do."

A few more notes from the Mavs’ fourth consecutive road loss:

1. Rough return for the Matrix: Shawn Marion looked rusty in his return after missing five games due to a sprained MCL in his left knee. Marion, who wore a brace to protect the knee, had as many turnovers (two) as points while making only one of five shots from the floor.

“I thought Shawn gave a good effort,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Marion, who had seven rebounds in 25 minutes. “This is a beginning of him coming back. He did some good things. He competed, he rebounded. He did a lot of the things we need him to do."

2. Second half zeroes: Three of the Mavs’ top six players failed to score a point in the second half. Marion, center Chris Kaman and sixth man Vince Carter were all held scoreless after halftime.

Not coincidentally, the Mavs were miserable offensively in the second half, scoring only 34 points on 14-of-45 shooting. The Mavs have been outscored by an average of 11.3 points in second halves this season.

Carter played only 5:30 in the second half, with Carlisle perhaps wanting to keep those 35-year-old legs as fresh as possible for the butt end of the back-to-back Saturday night in Cleveland.

Marion was much more concerned about the Mavs' poor defense in the second half than their struggles to score.

“It’s frustrating right now," Marion said. "We put ourselves in a good position to win the game in the first half then we come out and we couldn’t stop anything in the second half. I don’t know why we are doing these things. We can’t seem to sustain anything. We are continuing to have lapses, mental lapses.

"We have to be more consistent at both ends of the floor. We have to do a better job of helping each other. Right now there seems to be no communication, our trust in each other doesn’t seem to be there."

3. Sarge comes strong again: Rookie Bernard James, aka Sarge, continues to make his presence felt while getting the bulk of the backup center minutes. James had nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes.

Brandan Wright played 11 minutes after getting a DNP-CD Wednesday night. He had six points but only one rebound. Carlisle has made it clear that rebounding and defense are the top two priorities for his backup centers.