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Mavs beat the Hornets for the 19th straight time last night. I had a lot to do with Dirk's second half. He knew he had to step up after scoring just 2 points before halftime.

"Actually, he [Avery] didn't say a word to me [at halftime]," Nowitzki said of how coach Avery Johnson handled his star player's two-point first half. "Obviously, I was disappointed with my play. I know my teammates wanted me to stay aggressive, and once you get a shot or two to fall, you get your confidence back."

Nowitzki scored the Mavs' first six points after halftime as they pulled out of a tie game and never trailed again.
The game stayed close until late in the fourth when the Mavs went on a mini-run capped by a Josh Howard three.
"Big shot," said Howard, who went without a rebound in Friday's win over Philadelphia. "I wasn't scared to take it. I stepped up to the plate."
Howard is now shooting 44% from beyond the arc. He shot 43% last season but was below 30% his second year in the league.

Howard is also attempting four three's a game which is up from just over one last season. As long as he' shooting them like this I don't mind at all.

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Injury Update: Jerry Stackhouse returned last night and said he felt good.
"I had looks that I felt I should have made. I was 1-for-7, but I felt better then that. The big thing was getting back into the rhythm. Avery said I was going to play 18 minutes, and when I looked at the stat sheet, I played 18 exactly."
No Update on Anthony Johnson's ankle, which I assume means the result of his MRI confirmed the 7-10 day time frame.

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Around the NBA: Phoenix won their 13th straight last night. The streak has a lot to do with Amare Stoudemire who is averaging 20.5 points and almost nine rebounds per game in the month of December. He's now consistently playing over 30 minutes a game and keeps looking better. Not '05 Playoffs better, but better none the less.

And I obviously have to mention the Knicks/Nuggets brawl. Three thoughts:
  • Nate Robsinson is the new Stephen Jackson
  • Carmelo Anthony gets two HUGE thumbs down for punching and running. That was pathetic.
  • And I find it hilarious that there is ZERO mention of the incident on NBA.com