Saturday Links

Eddie Sefko has an article on the Mavs road to the playoffs.

The remaining schedule includes 10 games at home and 10 on the road. The caliber of competition is tough. There are 13 teams on the schedule in the playoff hunt.

"You got to make pressure your friend," coach Rick Carlisle said. "If you don't like the challenge of pressure, you shouldn't be in this. Pressure makes you better, if you approach it the right way. It brings the best out of you."

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Josh Howard will not play tonight.

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David Moore analyzes the Mavs defensive problems and says they are too slow and don't communicate.  The Devean George agrees on the second part.

"We just don't talk like we used to. We used to be loud on defense. It was, 'Hey, you got him. Push him out. You're by yourself.' Now, some guys don't know if the pick is coming, if it's isolation or if they're supposed to guard the guy one-on-one.

"I don't know what happened. It almost seems like we're just five players out there on defense. We're a tight group. We talk and joke in the locker room, on the plane and the buses. We all get along. But we get out there on the floor and its like, 'Who is the man next to me on defense?' "

Yikes.  That's the stuff you're only supposed to hear in the week after preseason...

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Mike Fisher looks a little deeper into Reggie Miller's suggestion that Dallas would be better off missing the playoffs to "get  a college player".

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From the 'Weekend Dime', an anonymous Western Conference scout on whether Phoenix or Dallas will make the playoffs.

"It's going to be close, though. Dallas is close to teetering, there's no doubt about it. When you can't guard Oklahoma City when [Kevin] Durant isn't even playing ... there's no way Dallas should have to go into a zone out of desperation against Oklahoma City. That was ugly. That was brutal."

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Around the NBA: Phoenix lost to Houston.  Tonight's opponent lost in San Antonio by 22.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu, haveing already been released by the Spurs, has signed with Toronto.  He had 4 points and 10 rebounds in his Raptors debut.

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