The Dallas Mavericks are stuck in their first three-game losing streak since late in the 2018-19 season.
The short-handed Mavericks aim to turn around their fortunes against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis on Wednesday night when they continue a brutal stretch of five games in eight days.
Dallas lost 116-93 to Toronto on Monday to open a three-game trip. Jalen Brunson returned to the lineup after missing the previous four games due to the NBA's health and safety protocols; however, the Mavericks still are without Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell.
"For me to be back on the court, it felt great. The first couple of minutes were a little tough for me, but once I got running up and down a little bit, I felt fine," said Brunson, who finished with 13 points.
"I don't recommend taking 10 days off and playing a game, but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do."
Luka Doncic drew plenty of defensive attention after recording 36 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists in a 117-101 loss to Chicago on Sunday. He still registered 15 points, seven rebounds and nine assists despite receiving box-and-one treatment from the Raptors.
"I don't like losing; it's terrible, it just feels bad," said Doncic, who attempted just 11 shots from the field against Toronto.
"In the four-game winning streak (Jan. 4-13), everybody felt great. The locker room felt happy, so we've got to go back to that and just enjoy playing basketball."
Doncic had a strong performance in his most recent meeting with the Pacers, but his 36-point, 10-rebound, eight-assist effort went for naught in a 112-109 Dallas setback on March 8.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half of that game. Hardaway sat out Sunday's game with a strained left groin.
Domantas Sabonis, who collected 20 points and 17 rebounds in the previous encounter with Dallas, matched his franchise record with his 13th straight double-double after notching 19 points and 14 rebounds in a 129-96 setback to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
The loss concluded an extended road trip for Indiana, which begins a four-game homestand Wednesday night.
Like the Mavericks, the Pacers have been undermanned of late. NBA blocked shots leader Myles Turner is sidelined with a right-hand injury suffered in Indiana's 111-87 win over Portland on Thursday.
"It's going to be difficult to beat a lot of teams without having a rim protector down there, especially with how we play defense so aggressive," Justin Holiday said of the absence of Turner. "We force dudes to have to drive and go in there and make plays. ... We have to find a way to keep the ball in front of us a little better."
Malcolm Brogdon averages team-best totals in points (22.2) and assists (7.5) for Indiana.
--Field Level Media