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Tonight's game certainly loses a little it's drama with Tim Duncan out, but Jeff Caplan says it's still a big game.

With Tim Duncan out, Dallas will probably see a lot more of Francisco Elson.

Popovich was tight-lipped Tuesday when asked who would start at Duncan's power forward spot against Dallas. All signs point to Francisco Elson, a part-time starter at center last season, earning the nod.

Duncan's absence could also mean a bump in minutes for reserves Matt Bonner and Robert Horry, who made his season debut against Portland. The Spurs also could be tempted to go to a smaller lineup more quickly, especially if the game devolves into an offensive shootout.
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I quite liked this article by Eddie Sefko about how much Tim Duncan help the Spurs without filling up the box score, and the hope that Dirk can have that same impact with Dallas.
At 17.6 points per game, Duncan is averaging a career low. His 8.9 rebounds per game is by far a career low.

Yet nobody in basketball views the 7-footer as anything less than the center of the Spurs' universe.

So what it's come to is that Duncan is so great now that he doesn't have to be great.
"Everybody's double-teaming him and he's making them even better," Nowitzki said. "His presence - and we all know he's one of the best defenders - but his presence on the court is unbelievable. He's still one of the most dominant low-post players in the game.

"We all know this league is too good these days that you can win by yourself. You've got to have a great group of guys who can take over games. One guy is not going to get it done. If you want to win the championship, you've got to be solid defensively, and on offense, you've got to know how to attack from a lot of angles. You've got to have a little bit of everything to make the defense pay. Overall, that's what we've been working on over the last couple years."
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I'm not sure what Avery is talking about here, but it's funny. Apparently Jason Terry does something weird before he shoots sometimes or something...
"When he just catches and shoots it, it's really beautiful," Avery Johnson said. "Sometimes he fools around with the ball too much. It's kind of like his Kung Fu move. If he stays away from the Kung Fu, then he's all right."
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Injury Update: Devean George and Eddie Jones are both back to practicing with the team. Devean could be back by the end of the week, but not tonight. Eddie Jones won't be cleared until next week.

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This Day in Mavs History
1980 Brad Davis played in his first of 883 games with Dallas.