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Three takeaways from Indiana Pacers blowout loss to Dallas Mavericks in 2023 NBA Summer League

The Pacers fell to 2-2 in Summer League play

The Indiana Pacers dropped their Summer League game to the Dallas Mavericks Friday night in what was their worst performance of the summer so far.

The game started off close, with the score being 19-15 after one quarter. The Pacers defense looked fine to start the game, but they couldn't create enough shots to keep up.

As the game progressed, though, the story changed. Indiana found more rhythm offensively after a slow start, but their defense completely vanished. They conceded at least 29 points in all of the final three quarters and never were even within striking distance. Once Dallas took a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter, the Pacers couldn't get it back to single digits.

The blue and gold struggled to contain Mavs ball handlers. They were getting into the paint at will, and that created easy shots. Dallas shot over 50% from the field despite only having 20 assists, it was easy for them to create their own shots.

"They've been playing harder than us the whole game," Pacers guard Ben Sheppard said during a mid-game interview on the ESPN broadcast.

In the end, the final score was 112-91. The loss eliminated the Pacers from Summer League playoff contention, meaning their final game in Las Vegas will come on Sunday.

While this was Indiana's worst outing of Summer League so far, there are still some important takeaways for the summer group.

The Pacers defense struggled

Giving up 112 points in a 40-minute game says everything about Indiana's defense in this outing. They couldn't stop anything.

The Mavericks ball handlers had an easy time getting to their spots. A.J. Lawson had 24 points. Olivier-Maxence Prosper had 18. Off the bench, Jordan Walker finished with 21 points. They were all carving up the blue and gold.

Defense has been a focus for Indiana throughout the summer, and they defended better in their first two Summer League outings. "We're looking closely at the defense," head coach Rick Carlisle said during the first game. The Pacers must clean up their play on the less glamorous end of the court in their final battle.

Jarace Walker had his worst Summer League outing

Pacers lottery pick Jarace Walker had his worst outing in Las Vegas so far. He was 6/21 from the field (1/10 from deep) for 13 points, and he added five rebounds, two assists, and a block.

His defense was fine, but he got blown by on a few drives by Prosper in a way that hadn't been seen in prior action. On offense, some of the ball handling and shot creation flashes he showed in earlier games weren't there. His jumper was off. Not much went right for the eighth overall pick.

He has still had a successful Summer League so far, but this game showed that he is still going to be an inconsistent young player that struggles against certain coverages.

Ben Sheppard found his groove late

Sheppard, who the Pacers picked 26th overall in the NBA Draft, had just three points at halftime and was struggling to get involved in the action. He was having an off night early.

But he found his groove in the second half, where he had 16 of his 19 points. In the end, the rookie was 7/13 from the field and 5/10 from deep, and his foot speed stood out on defense.

"Just keep shooting. Keep doing what I'm doing. Just play hard. If I play on the defensive side, it'll all work out," he said when assessing his play during an ESPN interview mid-game.

Sheppard has been up-and-down throughout Summer League so far, but this half was perhaps his best. That should give him momentum going into the final Pacers game of the summer on Sunday.