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Dallas > Miami. Friday Links

I saw something last night I didn't think I would see in my lifetime. It wasn't Dallas having their third ten game winning streak of the season. It wasn't the Mavs extending their franchise record for consecutive home wins to 18. It wasn't even Dallas making the defending Champs look like a college team for three quarters.

I saw Shaquille O'Neal unable to dominate on offense while he was being guarded by Austin Croshere. I saw Shaq miss an offensive rebound because he got boxed out...... by Jerry Stackhouse.

With Dwyane Wade likely having season ending surgery, the Heat are done. I'll be shocked if they make the playoffs. Oddly, seeing the team that denied Dallas their first Championship miss the playoffs would be both enjoyable and depressing.

Tim Cowlishaw put it well.

Eight months ago, you walked out of American Airlines Center and asked: How did the Mavericks lose to the Heat?

After Thursday, the question had been changed ever so slightly. It now reads: HOW DID THE MAVERICKS EVER LOSE TO THE HEAT?
Some small measure of joy could have been achieved by Mavericks fans had they seen the hottest team in the NBA send Wade and the Heat to their 28th defeat of the season. Doing it to the Heat without Wade seemed like cruel and unusual punishment.

Take that, Chris Quinn!
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David Moore also doubts that the Heat can win with just O'Neal.
But he's no longer an explosive force. He can dominate a game, but can he dominate a week or a month?

Probably not.

Wednesday's loss to the Mavericks offered a glimpse of what lies ahead for the Heat in its post-dislocation phase. It wasn't encouraging.

O'Neal carried the Heat early, scoring 14 of its first 28 points. He was active on both ends of the court.

His effort allowed Miami to end the half down by only 23 points.
Don't tell Shaq that.
"They're all right," O'Neal said of the Mavericks, who won their 10th consecutive game and at 45-9 are a mere 19 games ahead of the Heat. "They're playing well. They play well at home. But they still can be beat."
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Art Garcia has a short article on the Anthony Johnson trade with Donnie Nelson confirming it was mainly done for the roster spot.
There's interest in adding a free agent, preferably at backup center or power forward. Scottie Pippen isn't on the radar.

"We're letting the dust settle [Thursday] and see what's out there [today]," president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. "There are some names out there we like."