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Thursday Bulls Game Links

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Eddie Sefko writes about the Mavs focus on the playoffs with plenty of quotes about the Finals last year.

"All the little drills we do are going to make us a better team in the playoffs," Dirk Nowitzki said. "And obviously, coming up short last year in the Finals, that motivates us even more. But it's going to be a long road. You play 82 games and then basically start over with 2 ½ months of intense basketball."

Garcia has a lot of the same quotes in his article today but also has a quote from Avery about the dynamic during practice.
"I don't think it has anything to do with me," Johnson said. "I have a role, but my role is limited compared to what Jason Terry is doing for the team and what Dirk's leadership is doing with this team.

"You ought to see these guys in practice, the way Jet Terry leads, and Dirk. And even a guy like Anthony Johnson, who's not playing much. He's much more vocal in practice in helping guys out even though he's not playing. So I think it has more to do with them."

Sefko also has a little on Jason Terry's evolution as a passer with some quotes that Garcia used yesterday.
Lately, teams have begun blitzing the point guard on that play, which means they are stepping in on Jason Terry, forcing him to give up the ball.

The result: Terry has averaged 9.5 assists in the last four games. While his shot hasn't been there, he's compensated by distributing the ball better than he has at anytime in his NBA career.

Sam Smith of thinks the Mavs are poised to win their first championship. He also compares the Bulls to the Mavs saying that Chicago is better at every position besides PF -- that includes SF, but he does concede that Josh Howard is probably a little better Loul Deng.
Center Erick Dampier? The Bulls have a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Wallace.

Guard Jason Terry? Nice scorer, but I'm taking Ben Gordon if I need a big game. Gordon has more range and a higher scoring average.

Guard Devin Harris? Or maybe Devean George, who started in Tuesday's win over the Magic? George is a Lakers castoff who is playing well. Harris is a good defender and a slasher but a poor shooter whom teams play off.

How about Kirk Hinrich, who made the U.S. national team over the summer? He's a better scorer, a better shooter and at least as good a defender, as the Mavericks generally plays two small guards.

Forward Josh Howard? Good, tough player, much improved. Better, perhaps, than Luol Deng, but it can't be by much. Deng doesn't score quite as much, but he shoots better and is bigger.

Down in the D-League: I'm not sure the Flyers could survive without the Mavs.

Mensah-Bonsu scored 25 ion 10-17 shooting and grabbed nine boards which actually didn't lead the team.

And J.J. Barea finally got his first double-double. He dished out ten assists (3 turnovers) and scored 17.


Around the NBA: Houston beat San Antonio. The Spurs have to make a trade soon don't they?

Shaq returned for the Heat, but the Pacers had a great 4th quarter and OT win. Darrell Armstrong played during the entire 4th quarter comeback.