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There's one obvious story from last nights game - Dirk.

"If there is any question about MVP, just replay this performance with No. 41 playing on one leg in overtime and the fourth quarter," Johnson said. "You replay this game and you can look at that game and pair it up against anybody in the league. This guy is incredible. Dirk Nowitzki, just in case you guys didn't know his name."
But Jason Terry wants to make sure we don't forget about Josh Howard.
Terry was particularly glad to see Howard pull off the defensive play at the end.

"He had the play of the game," Terry said. "If he doesn't get that block, I'm the scapegoat because it was my guy who snuck in there for the rebound."
Oddly enough, there didn't seem to be anything about Jason Terry in the papers today, who had great game as well.

And of course, Jermaine O'Neal didn't think the game was about Dirk at all.
O'Neal was called for a foul on a shot by Dirk Nowitzki just inside the 3-point line with 3:59 left in regulation. Replays indicated there was no contact.

Nowitzki hit both free throws, tying the score at 93.

An incensed O'Neal screamed, "I'm not a rookie!" at one of the referees after the call. He was still frustrated in the locker room afterward. "I didn't touch him; didn't even touch him," O'Neal said. "It just kind of looked like (the referees) wanted them to win. I'd just appreciate it if they'd look at it both ways. We play hard, too. That's the most frustrating thing about it. We don't get any calls.

"Sometimes we get treated like we're not even a basketball team," he said. "It's absolutely ridiculous. We're basketball players, too."

With the Mavs busy schedule lately, Avery Johnson has cut back on practices.
"It's a benefit for us now," Avery Johnson said of the schedule's hectic nature lately. "Earlier in the season we need more practice time. Now we need more game time.

"When we come out of this stretch, I'm looking forward to our next real practice, which probably won't occur until Monday. This has actually been good for us, independent of the results."

And Sefko has a little piece on Dirk's defensive duties.
"We don't try to hide Dirk," Johnson said. "There are times in the fourth quarter when I like Dirk to guard the guy. Sometimes, I want Dirk to be more involved in the defense. I think your best player has to have the responsibility at the end of the day of guarding the better offensive guys, depending on foul trouble."
In the last week, Dallas ended the game with Dirk guarding Jermaine O'Neal, Carlos Boozer, and Tim Duncan.


Injury Update: Devin Harris didn't fly back with the team to Toronto last night. He stayed behind as his head was still hurting from the charge he drew on Al Harrington. Team doctors say he did not have a concussion and will join the team sometime today. He's expected to play on Sunday.


Around the NBA: NBA official Rodney Mott has been suspended three games for "making an obscene gesture toward a fan and also using inappropriate language". Mott last officiated a Mavs game on December 28th vs Phoenix.

Ray Allen had his way with the Jazz, going off for 54/10/5 game.

Minnesota beat the Grizzlies. I point this out because the TWolves have quietly gotten over .500 and would be in the playoff if the season ended right now.