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Art Garcia writes about the Mavs growing physicality. I thought this quote from Tracy McGrady was pretty funny.

"Those guys are dirty," he said in Las Vegas. "For real. They are dirty players. They play the game the right way, but they have all the tricks. They get cheap shots in every now and then to just let you know that they're there and they're not going anywhere. And I respect that. That's why they're so good. They find a way."
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Eddie Sefko has a quote from Donnie Nelson about the teams trade deadline strategy.
"Right now, if we did anything, it would be strictly cosmetic, maybe an insurance piece," said Donnie Nelson, president of basketball operations. "But we're not going to touch our core, our top 10 players or so.

"Right now, we just want to step out of the way and let these guys get after it."
Sefko goes on to say that the only way he sees the Mavs adding someone is if a player like P.J Brown or Jamal Magloire were traded and waived.

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Gil LeBreton has a funny article comparing All-Star: Vegas to All-Star Arlington.
You knew the game was in Vegas when Newton came out, bronzed like a July Fourth brisket and flanked by the pink-plumed late shift from the Folies Bergere. He was singing -- what else? -- Viva Las Vegas.

I shuddered, mostly because I had this vision of the 2010 (or whenever) NBA All-Star Game, live from the Cowboys' new stadium, the Jethrodome, and who comes out to sing the national anthem but... Garth Brooks.

In 1995, Arlington hosted baseball's All-Star Game, and the city rolled out its seldom-used red carpet. The big party of the week, as I recall, was held at Six Flags Over Texas. You could ride the Judge Roy Scream all night.

In Vegas last weekend, on the other hand, there were parties at the Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, at least one gentleman's club that Dennis Rodman rented for the evening, and also a place called Paradise Mansion, which was billed as "a gated, two-acre paradise estate with a 20-foot waterfall and its own private night club."

Converse held a party for the Heat's Dwyane Wade. Nike hosted a party for Michael Jordan. Sprite held a bash for LeBron James. Allen Iverson "and Friends" did the party thing at Caesar's.

And top this, Arlington: Toyota hosted an All-Star TV watching party at a local drive-in theater.
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Sefko writes that Howard becoming a star this season is the main reason for the Mavs fantastic season thus far.
"You have to have star players who are complementary, and they have that," he said. "Nowitzki is as good as anybody in the league and Josh Howard is a great complement because he's improved his shooting, but that's not his game. His game is rebound, slash, nasty, fierce competitor."

In fact, Van Gundy is part of the growing fraternity that believes Howard's tenacity, now balanced by a more wide-ranging set of skills, is the biggest catalyst in the Mavericks' dominance this season.

"That's what we don't like about him, because it's hard to play against nasty competitors," Van Gundy said. "But that's what we respect the most about him. If you're going to beat them, you have to have somebody who's not a nice guy matched up against him because he's ... [a] ruthless, nasty competitor. That's what he is. And you got to give him credit for how much he's improved his skill level. But his demeanor has stayed the same."
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Down in the D-League: Mensah-Bonsu rejoined the rest of his team in Fort Worth and picked up where he left off. He led the team in scoring with 22 points on 8-13 shooting (6-7 from the line). He also grabbed seven rebounds, five offensive, but turned the ball over five times.

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San Antonio beat Denver by holding Carmelo and Iverson to 24 points.

Nash returns and the Suns beat the Clippers by 25.