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Saturday All--Star Stuff

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Dirk Nowitzki will become the first Mav to ever start in the All-Star game.

"Steve is out, so you can tell all those people in Dallas I wasn't going to start Steve anyway," D'Antoni said. "And if you believe that, I've got some land I want to sell you.

"I'm going to start Dirk because, to be honest with you, along with Steve, I thought those were the two guys who should have been voted in. Not to take anything away from the other players, but they deserved it more than anybody."
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Scottie Pippen update:
"Yeah, I would consider it," Pippen said. "I like Dallas, San Antonio and Los Angeles [Lakers]."

Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks' president of basketball operations, said the team isn't looking to make a move, but added, "it would be foolish" not to consider a player with Pippen's background. He intends to explore it further.

"Maybe he's been drinking from the same fountain that Dikembe Mutombo has," Nelson said.
Basically, "If I didn't kick the tires I wouldn't be doing my job". Pippen won't be coming to Dallas.

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Art Garcia has an article about Vegas as a potential NBA franchise location. The consensus has become that this will happen at some point.
"The question now is which NBA team moves there," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. "We've finally got the commissioner convinced that expansion isn't a good thing.

"If all the demographics and financials work out, why wouldn't we have a team there?"

The sports books, for one. The chief obstacle for Las Vegas' viability as a major professional market (NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL) hasn't been market size or economic ability.

"No one has ever explained to me why being on the sports books is a bad thing," Cuban said. "Does anybody know?
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Avery Johnson has nice things to say about his team at the break.
"To do what we do every night is difficult," coach Avery Johnson said as the Mavericks bolted to points across North America for the break. "When you come into games and the perception is you should win, to play under that pressure every night - it's easy when you're the underdog, man. The easiest thing is to make a layup when you're 20 points up or 20 points down.

"But the hard thing to do is to make that layup under pressure with 20 seconds to go and your team's lives are depending on it, playing at a high level every night. You say you want it. But it's not the easiest thing to do. That's why I commend our guys because every night they have to be ready."

And, almost without fail, they have been. When they return from the break, they will try to earn their third double-digit winning streak of the season, something that has never been done in NBA history.
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The Arizona Central has an article with quotes from various people about why the Mavs are the favorites to win it all. The really god stuff is in the comments section.
I'm getting tired of all of you Suns haters. The Phoenix Suns are #1 no matter how you look at it.
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A beat writer for the Sonics and their two radio guys have a ranking of the top 100 players in the NBA. The votes for the Mavs were as follows.
  • Jerry Stackhouse: 66th, x, x. Consensus 94th.
  • Devin Harris: 69th, 63rd, x. Consensus 74th.
  • Erick Dampier: 80th, 66th, 60th. Consensus 64th.
  • Jason Terry: 50th, 46th, 43rd. Consensus 48th.
  • Josh Howard: 29th, 20th, 20th. Consensus 22nd.
  • Dirk Nowitzki: 2nd, 2nd, 4th. Consensus 3rd.
When they did this same thing in November Josh Howard was ranked lower than Terry and Dampier did not appear on the list at all.

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Down in the D-League: Mensah-Bonsu rejoined the team fro the final game before the break. He shot just 1-7, but got to the free-throw line eight times and ended up with nine points. He also grabbed seven rebounds.

Pops will participate in the D-League All-Star game today which will air live on NBATV at 4:00CT. There is a free preview of NBATV right now, so if you have cable you're getting it.

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Around the NBA: The Sophomores killed the rookies in a game that was hard to watch.