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"Oh yeah, he was the only option. We didn't have a plan B.
- Avery Johnson (on getting the ball to Dirk for the final shot).
I certainly picked a game to miss. I look forward to seeing what I missed when I fire up the Tivo Saturday Morning.

Despite Dirk's heroics, Avery Johnson made sure to single out Jason Terry after the game.
"Not just because he scored, but Jason Terry was special. We challenged him. We didn't like the way he played in the last game. He wasn't playing like himself. And he responded."
Terry finished with 35 points, but it was his eight assists that kept the Mavericks rolling during difficult situations.

"He was running the team," Howard said. "Dirk and I were struggling, but he found us on key shots."
Avery Johnson challenged Jason Terry before the game.
"He just said, 'You better show up,'" Terry said of Johnson's pregame challenge. "He said, 'You've been on Christmas break an extra day longer than everybody else."
Apparently it worked.


Paul Coro of the Arizon Republic thinks the Suns blew it.
The Suns' past few weeks could have excused them from a foul-happy quarter or a sloppy stretch in the crunch. But against Dallas, the missteps were just enough to tumble 101-99 to Dallas.
[Phoenix] can't believe they defended Dallas like that - holding the Mavericks to 41 percent shooting - and left with a loss because of an early hole dug by uncharacteristic reaching fouls (12 Dallas free-throw points in a 30-20 Mavericks first quarter) and even more uncharacteristic shaky nerves (six turnovers from 6:04 to 2:00 of the fourth with the ball out of Nash's hands).

Eddie Sefko and Art Garcia have artciles with the same quotes from Steve Nash.
Though more than two years have passed since Nash left the Mavs to sign a six-year deal for more than $60 million with Phoenix, he still can't help but wonder what might have been.

"I spend time thinking about it, but it is what it is," Nash said. "It would have been nice to have a shot at it with a group, a team and a city you spent six years with.
"I have a feeling we could have won one [championship] at least. But that's behind us. I love playing in Phoenix. I miss Dallas. It's a great town.
Eddie Sefko wasn't able avoid hyperbole.
All he can do is build on a career that has reached unthinkable heights since he left the Mavericks via free agency, a move that still rates among the worst basketball decisions in franchise history.

Injury Update: Jerry Stackhouse was out again last night but he should be back on Saturday.


Around the League: Allen Iverson beat the Sonics with 44 points and 10 assists.

There is a war of words going on between Pat Riley and players for the bulls. Pat Riley thinks Hinrich is a dirty player.
"Hinrich pulled his hand. He does it all the time," Riley told reporters. "That's what he does. Anytime Dwyane comes off screens, they will always grab his shirt or grab his hands. It's a tactic down below the body -- the official can't see it. He had Dwyane's hand, and [when Wade] tried to pull it out of there, I think something happened."
Meanwhile, the Bulls are wondering why James Posey keeps sending them to the ground.
"I don't know if it's something he sets out before the game to do or not," Hinrich said, according to the Tribune. "It was a hard foul, obviously."
"He should be worried about his players. Posey's always in the middle of something."