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Avery Johnson was pretty animated after the game last night. He obviously didn't want his team to get too excited about being back at .500. All Johnson wanted to talk about was the defense (the Mavs are allowing 103ppg).

"I tried to tell this this team that the Grizzlies are better than their record. They're running more and getting opportunities for everybody on the team to play well. Their four's and five's had 47 points on us tonight."

"I know somebody's waiting to ask me what a good game [Erick Dampier] had, right?" an angry Johnson asked after the Mavs' 115-103 victory. "Whose question was that?

"Well, what about Erick Dampier? What about Dirk [Nowitzki]? They scored 48 points and [Warrick and Swift] had 47, so I answered your question, so now you can ask me some questions about other stuff."

Sefko's game recap focuses on the defense as well.
Memphis scored 57 points in the first half, picked up more fast-break points than the Mavericks (9-to-8) and shot above 50 percent from the field for the evening. The Grizzlies became the fifth team this season to sting the Mavericks for more than 100 points.

"We're a long ways away," Johnson said. "I'm very disappointed in our defense tonight, very disappointed in our sense of urgency over the course of the game."

Kevin Sherrington writes about the developing team chemistry. Apparently Devean George's nickname is shellfish.


According to Art Garcia, Josh Howard would have played last night if it were a playoff game.


And in case you haven't heard, Shaq is out four to six weeks after having knee surgery. Dallas doesn't play Miami until January 21st so he should definitely be back by then.