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Last night was another one of those games where the Mavs never should have let it be close, but I promised myself not to complain too much in the first half of the season. I will say that I almost threw my remote in the air when I thought Orlando tied the game with two second left.

The inbounds pass went to Dwight Howard, who dropped it off to Bogans outside the arc. Well, almost. Bogans appeared to tie it up with (xx) left, by the toes of his right sneaker edged into the black stripe dividing two from three points.

Three-point defense, especially in the final seconds, has been a thorn in the Mavs' side this season.

"And we're going to practice it again tomorrow," Johnson said. "Guaranteed."
The Mavs lucked out.

Pet Peeve note: If that shot happened in the 1st quarter, I have no doubt they would have counted it as a 3. The refs only pay attention to toes on lines in the final 2 minutes of games, and I have no idea why.

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Box Score

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Eddie Jones returned to the starting lineup last night, removing one of Avery's go-to excuses, and the results were actually pretty good. He had six assists in the first six minutes and thirty seven seconds.

Devin Harris (15 points, 9 assists) was also very good, and Avery says it might have been because Devin had been looking forward to playing against Jameer Nelson all season.
In October, while negotiating a new deal, Nelson used Harris' $43 million extension in the off-season as a guide. But then the 6-foot Nelson inexplicably ripped Harris.

Nelson claimed he's a "better player," "means more" to his team and he even questioned Harris' listed height of 6-foot-3 as not being "legit.

...Avery Johnson said he knew from his playing days that Harris had this one circled.

"Oh, absolutely," Johnson said. "I'm not even going to give you coaches' talk and say no -- circled, put an X, put a star by it, got extra sleep, shot at night. Yeah."
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Jan Hubbard has more quotes from the reborn Avery on the relative unimportance of the regular season.
"We were just trying to get some short-term goals with the team," Johnson said. "We've been looking too much at 82, 82. Everybody's been kind of pounding in what happened last year [in the playoffs].

"The season doesn't really start until when [the critics] say it starts. I kind of gave [the players] little short-term goals in five games and wanted to see how they would respond. Overall I think they responded pretty good except for our game in Toronto and our lack of defense against Utah."
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Down in the D-League: Moe Ager has been sent to the NBDL. That has to be a disappointment for him, but it really isn't a surprise.
"He needs to play the whole game," Johnson said. "He needs minutes, and I don't have any minutes for him. There's just a lot of bodies in front of him. Hopefully he can utilize it to his advantage."
Ager joins Nick Fazekas who in seven games with Tulsa is averaging 12.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.57 turnovers in 28.1 minutes per game.

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It was mentioned during the broadcast last night, but it's worth repeating. When Dirk made a three in the fourth quarter last night it was just his 19th of the season. I thought that seemed crazy low, so I did some quick research and discovered that through 26 games last season Dirk had made just 21 (but on 12 less attempts).

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This Day in Mavs History
1985 Boston had 46 assists, setting the opponent record for most assists.