Rapid Reaction: Pacers 98, Mavs 87

How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki dominated the first quarter and a half and virtually disappeared after that until the game was out of reach.

Nowitzki busted out of his longest slump since his rookie season by scoring 20 points by the midway mark of the second quarter, knocking down nine of his first 10 shots, but he was a nonfactor after that until it was too late.

Nowitzki finished with a season-high 30 points, but he attempted only two shots from the floor in the first 18 minutes of the second half. By the time he got his first field goal of the half with 5:28 remaining, the Mavs were down by 15 points.

Nobody picked up the slack when Nowitzki cooled off. Even with Nowitzki’s late flurry, the Mavs scored only 34 points in the second half, when they shot 32.4 percent from the floor.

Indiana swingman Paul George had a career-night at the Mavs’ expense. He scored 30 points, shooting 11-of-19 from the floor and 7-of-11 from 3-point range. He was one 3-pointer shy of matching Reggie Miller’s franchise record for a game.

What it means: The Mavs (14-10) have lost consecutive games for the third time this season. This is the first time they've had consecutive home losses since the season's first two games. They’ll try to avoid their first three-game losing streak since their 0-3 start Saturday night in Cleveland.

Play of the game: George rejected a Jason Terry layup and then knocked down a transition 3-pointer at the other end early in the fourth quarter. The five-point swing pushed the Pacers’ lead back to eight points. It was the sixth 3-pointer for George.

Stat of the night: The Mavs, who were comeback kings during the championship run, are 0-8 when trailing after three quarters this season.