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"We're not a perfect basketball team but this team is very resilient. You had chance to see that tonight"
- Avery Johnson

Dallas was ahead for a total of 17.9 second yesterday, so I'd that's a fair quote.

You can owe it all to a final play which Art Garcia reports the Mavs practice every day.

Terry and Howard hooked up on the deciding basket, running a play to perfection that the Mavs work on in every practice. The set begins with Terry handling the ball. Howard cuts to the basket, and Nowitzki slides to the wing.

Nowitzki, three weeks removed from a buzzer-beater to beat Phoenix, surprisingly isn't the first option. It's designed for Howard initially, then Nowitzki. If neither is open, Terry gets the shot.

Howard did get open, and Jason Terry made the right decision.

"I'm playing quarterback," said Terry, a Seattle native. "I'm going through my progressions just like [Matt] Hasselbeck. I dumped it over a defender, and you have to have a good receiver."

Well, maybe not Hasselbeck - he lost.

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JJT writes about why he likes Dirk so much.

...don't ever take a player like Nowitzki for granted. Ever.

Not in this era of pampered, pompous superstars with bloated guaranteed contracts and egos to match. The 28-year-old German, who's regularly the last player to leave practice, has reached the point in his nine-year career where winning a championship is his sole goal.

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Art Garcia has an article about the way the refs treat Dirk.

Nowitzki had gotten a technical less than a minute earlier for protesting an offensive foul. Johnson can't help but wonder if Nowitzki receives enough credit for his willingness to get physical inside.

"With the pounding he takes, in comparison to some of the other MVP or superstar players, he still doesn't get [to the line] enough," Johnson said. "He goes to the basket just as strong as anybody, but he doesn't get [to the line] enough. But that has more to do with perception."

Dirk is currently eleventh in the league in FTA per game. He's also third in the NBA for technical fouls with seven.

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Avery Johnson wants and expects more out Diop.

"We've coddled, we've disciplined, we've pointed out [things]," Johnson said. "Now, it's pretty much on him. I can't pinpoint it. But he's going to have to accept the responsibility.

"He hasn't played nearly as good this year as he played last year."

In one less mpg this season, Diop is actually averaging slightly more rebounds per game and his blocks are down by just .4. Surprising, because I agree with Avery, Diop was much better last season.

Yesterday Diop's boxscore read "DNP - Coach's Decision".

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The New York Times had an article today about the Mavs free throw shooting coach. TrueHoop.com talks about it here and it's pretty interesting.

No mention in the article about Dampier who has shot 30 points below his career average in his years with Dallas.



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Vote for which Mavs Dancer should go to the All-Star game in Vegas.

I think the choice is clear.

While you're at it, go vote for Dirk too.

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Around the NBA: My LAL prediction was wrong, Chris Webber is going to Detroit.

The Basketball Jones interviewed NBA reporter Elie Seckbach for their latest podcast. If you're not familiar with Seckbach, go watch his videos on YouTube now.