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Sunday Roundup

Today George Karl is making sense to me.

"I was talking to someone this afternoon about Avery [Johnson]. He has brought a toughness they didn't have before he got here. There's no question that they're more mentally tough, physically tough, maybe even angrily tough. What I call the intangibles, the savvy of basketball.

"When they get challenged, they're good. They're great on this court."

"There is so much confidence in their game at the end of games that most teams don't have," Karl said. "Most of that is because of their defense and [Dirk] Nowitzki."
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Another solid win last, and Eddie Sefko it's getting monotonous - in a good way.
Monotony is good when it means a team maintains focus.

It's even better when it results in a team pushing its record to 46-9.

The win was the 11th straight for the Mavericks. That's impressive until you consider the team has two winning streaks longer this season.

The win was their 19th straight at the American Airlines Center. That's 79 days without a loss at home.

And counting.
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I really wanted to see Dirk get that triple-double last night, and apparently he was trying.
Nowitzki flirted with his first career triple-double, falling two assists shy for the fourth time this season. The MVP contender scored 31 points and added 11 rebounds, his 34th double-double.

Nowitzki's eight assists tied his career high, and the Mavs ran a couple plays in the fourth quarter to try to get him to 10.

"When I try, it never will happen," Nowitzki said. "It's got to come from the flow of the game. Hopefully, when my career is over I'll be able to get one."
It will happen sooner rather than later.

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It sounds like Devin Harris has pretty much lost his starting spot.
Avery Johnson said he'll probably keep bringing Devin Harris off the bench while starting either Greg Buckner or Devean George at shooting guard.

"We started really getting exploited with our two small guys [Harris and Terry], and it didn't make Devin Harris look as good of a defender as he is when he had to guard 6-8 Kobe [Bryant], 6-8 [Tracy] McGrady.

"So we figured, that's why we got George and Buck, to have the option of going big like we did with [Adrian] Griffin last year, but even be better; have some guys that are even better offensively and are able to stretch the floor and do more things for us."
I love Devin. I think the Mavs are better with Devin on the court. I think Devin Harris is capable of guarding taller guards like Kobe Bryant. I like a backcourt with Devin and Terry. But until Dallas actually starts losing games I'm not going to complain or second guess Avery. How can I talk bad about this team?

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Devin Harris has another entry in his diary for the ST. He talks about recycling, movies, and television. He says he watches 24 and his description of the show is hilarious -- I just hope it was meant to be.
My favorite TV show is 24. I watch that every week. They usually have something going on with the country, or the country is in some kind of threat.
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Marc Stein says in his Daily Dime that the trading of Anthony Johnson had nothing to with his being unhappy in Dallas.
Even though Johnson wasn't playing much for the Mavs, he told me before the deadline -- well aware that teams had been calling Dallas for weeks to pry him away -- that he really wanted to stay. Club insiders also say Johnson was a welcome presence in the locker room, despite his struggles to take minutes away from Jason Terry and Devin Harris.

Dallas simply couldn't resist the opportunity to save more than $8 million in future salary and luxury-tax obligations . . . and create a $2.6 million trade exception . . . and take back what should be a pretty decent pick early in the second round of the deep June draft by sending Johnson to the Hawks.
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Shaq had something interesting things to say about Nash winning the MVP after the Heat game on Thursday.
"I don't know," he deadpanned when asked if Dirk Nowitzki was a legit MVP contender. "I don't know how y'all give the award. That award has been tainted the last couple of years."
Jennifer Floyd Engel has an article about that today.
"Tainted. You know what I mean by tainted, you are a smart young lady," Shaq said.

I am. Or I can be. Sometimes. OK, every couple of weeks, I have a semi-smart thought. This must be my February moment because I know what tainted means without a dictionary.
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David Moore hands the Southwest division to the Mavs.
We want to warn our South Texas neighbors of the graphic, somewhat shocking nature of our next comment. Here it goes: The Spurs will not win the Southwest Division. The Mavericks are too good and the Spurs are too far behind to close the gap.

"We'll be fine," point guard Tony Parker assured. "You can't be first place every year. We just have to keep improving and make sure we stay healthy."
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Randy Galloway has an article relating to all things Mavs. From the Heat game without Wade.
For the record, and since no one else is writing it, let me be the first to say it certainly didn't go unnoticed here, and I would bet in the Mark Cuban household the Wade shoulder injury in Houston involved more than the crying scene on the bench, or the wheelchair ride off the floor.

There was no foul on the play. How could there have been no foul on the play?

Wade leaped at the Rockets' Shane Battier, hacked him hard across the arm, then collided with him, before falling to the floor in pain.
To the Anthony Johnson trade.
The answer from Mavs-ville was this year's draft is so deep, a high second-round pick (from Atlanta) will be valuable for a team that has no first-round choice, but now three seconds.

Another answer was trading Anthony Johnson saved $9 million.

Turns out, however, Anthony is now in Atlanta for none of the above reasons.

This move was strictly a personnel decision, based on the coaching staff opinion that age (32) had caught up with AJ's quickness. The Mavericks didn't think he could help much, even if he had to play.
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And Kevin Sherrington writes that the Mavs are having the best regular season of any team in Dallas sports history.