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Don't look now, but after San Antonio lost to Memphis (Memphis!) and Dallas beat the Suns, the Mavs are just one game behind the Spurs for first place in the Southwest Division and Western Conference.

Normality restored.

Sefko recaps the Mavs victory by highlighting all the reasons Dallas should have actually lost.

"I thought we were really competitive defensively," coach Avery Johnson said. "But you can't turn the ball over like we did. And I don't think we're going to win consistently allowing teams to shoot 52 percent and with them getting 66 points in the paint."

No team had more than 24 fast-break points on the Mavericks all season. The Suns had 36. In three quarters. They finished with 43. It couldn't dampen the Mavs' exuberance after the win.
OK, it wasn't perfect, but they beat Suns and never trailed. I'll that every time.


David Moore writes about the Mavs recent turnaround and says it coincides with Avery Johnson going to back to calling the plays.
Johnson has simplified the offense. A team that ran the screen-and-roll about 40 percent of the time to start the season has bumped that up to 65 percent since the loss to Denver on Dec. 6.

Ball movement has improved. The Mavericks have shot 50 percent or more from the field eight times this season, and four of those have come in the last seven games.

By giving Harris less freedom to call plays, it gives him more freedom to attack the basket and play to his strengths.

"He's taken a lot of the decision-making away," assistant coach Paul Westphal said. "By doing that, he's freeing the guys up to play more instinctive basketball."

I'd really like for the Mavs to stop making me nervous with these last second threes, and Avery says it will be a daily focus in practice.


Jim Reeves has maybe his first Mavs article of the year and it's about Dallas struggling to take the regular season seriously.
This is a team that went to the NBA Finals two years ago, won over 60 games last season and still has zero to show for it. No wonder the Mavs have had trouble convincing themselves that little matters other than winning their last game of the season, as long at it's sometime in June.

That's presented a unique challenge for Johnson. How does he convince his team that every game matters when they think they know better?

Sefko's latest mailbag


Mike Fisher breaks down the win quarter by quarter.


This Day in Mavs History
2005 Kobe Bryant (LAL) had 62 points, the most points by a Mavs opponent ever, only time a Mav opponent had 60+ points, and the 3rd of 3 times Bryant had 40+ points against Dallas.