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Sunday Mavs/Raptors Game Links

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Just trying to get these up before the game starts at noon...

Both Art Garcia and Eddie Sefko have articles on the zone defense and how more teams, including the Mavs, are using it.

"Zone is up overall in the league," coach Avery Johnson said. "I really do think so. You look at what Nellie's doing up in Golden State, there are games where he's zoned the whole game."

Some teams use zones more than others, but it's clear the stigma is gone. No longer considered a "junk" defense, a zone is an effective tool to use throughout a game.

"You see more and more acceptance of it," George said. "There are a lot of mismatches, and it's a good way to hide guys in foul trouble. A lot of teams are picking up on it because it can be useful."
Unlike Golden State, who use it to hide a lack of individual defenders, Dallas uses the Zone to mix things up and hopefully confuse the opponent's offense.


It's always nice to read glowing reports on your team in the away teams newspaper - from the Toronto Star:
The Mavs, however, seem to be a notch above every other team. Not only do they have the best record in the league, they've won 16 of their last 17 games and somehow just find a way to win.
Championship-calibre teams don't lose very often because they have championship-calibre talent to rely on.

Along with the multi-talented Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard has emerged as a potential all-star (many think coaches will vote him to the spot that could have gone to Carmelo Anthony before his fight-induced suspension) and Jason Terry averages almost 16 points and shoots nearly 44 per cent from three-point range.

But the thing that sets the Mavs apart from just about every other team is their consistent mental toughness. After losing the first four games of the regular season, they shrugged off any hangover from losing last year's final and have been the hottest team in the league since.

Sefko has an article with quotes from Avery Johnson about how he feels about the team to this point in the season.
"We're coming together on some of our rotations, and we're starting to make plays like we've actually been playing together," Johnson said. "When a guy can throw a pass to a certain spot, knowing that his teammate will be there, if a guy gets beat defensively, he knows somebody will be there.

"And there's somebody there because he's concerned about his teammate. That's what I like."
"There are some common denominators that all really, really great teams have, and that's what we're trying to develop."

Injury Update: Devin Harris joined the yesterday and didn't practice, but he is expected to start today.


Down in the D-League: After a one week lay-off Pops Mensah-Bonsu picked up where he left off. He led the team in rebounds with 12 and also added 12 points. He also fouled in his 32 minutes. Pops has led the Flyers in rebounds in seven of their last eight games.

J.J. Barea is still with the Mavs and there hasn't been any word on when he might be sent down.


Around the NBA: Memphis, who had been averaging 117 ppg since Mike Fratello was fired, scored just 66 points in their loss to Chicago last night. Ben Wallace did not play in the game.

Dikembe Mutombo continued to play well in Yao's absence. He grabbed 18 boards in an OT win over the Kings.