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MINDY LEICHTER / DallasNews.com


The Mavs return to action tonight against Minnesota, but it was still all about the All-Star game in the papers this morning.

Sefko has an article on Howard's feelings about not being voted in by the coaches.
"I knew that was going to happen," Howard said. "I've been saying for a long time that the All-Star Game is overrated. I still have an opportunity because of those two guys who are hurt, but it's a long shot to me. So I'm looking forward to spending that time with my son."

"Motivation, that's all I need," he said of the snub by coaches. "They don't want me to be an All-Star? I'm going to show them. I've been an underdog my whole life. This is just another step to prove everybody who didn't vote for me wrong."

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David Moore writes about how he thinks Avery will try and use the All-Star selections to motivate.
If you think the Mavericks are good, what about Phoenix? The coaches believe they have three All-Stars to the Mavericks' one. You think Johnson will bring that up if the two teams meet in the playoffs?

There's a good chance Howard will be added to the roster by commissioner David Stern because of injuries to Yao Ming and Carolos Boozer. That is the ideal scenario for the Mavericks: Howard gets to play in the game and still feel slighted by the coaches who didn't put him there originally. No matter how this plays out, the team benefits.

Johnson will make sure of it.
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Art Garcia's article is also about Howard using the snub as motivation. There is a little bit more about Howard's newborn son than there is in Sefko's article.

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Avery Johnson wants the team to get to the free throw line more. Dallas is 22nd in the league in FTA with 24.9 a game but leads the league in FT% at 81.64%. That great percentage actually moves Dallas up to 10th in FTM per game.
Johnson believes the Mavericks are at fault for not getting to the free throw line.

"And it has nothing to do with anything external," he said, alluding to officiating calls. "It's more us. We just got to be more committed in making strong moves."

"You can win and lose games with free throws," Johnson said. "I remember Sam Cassell years ago talked about making free throws in the fourth quarter. Not only is it a big part of what we do, in the fourth quarter, it's critical.

"You can have games in the last two minutes, if you get to the line six times, if you make all six, that's great. If you're three out of six, sometimes a playoff series, games, a championship series can be won or lost with as simple a thing as a free throw."
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Down in the D-League: Maurice Ager struggled in his return to Fort Worth. In 32 minutes he scored nine points on 4-15 shooting. He didn't attempt a single free throw, had two assists and committed five fouls.

Mensah-Bonsu missed the game with a sprained ankle but should return for tonight's game. And Barea has rejoined the Mavericks.

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Around the NBA: Carlos Boozer thinks he might be able to play in the All-Star game. I really doubt the Jazz would be real fond of him returning early from a fractured leg to play in an exhibition game.

The Clippers handed Boston their 14th straight loss and Elton Brand said "Hey, invite me to Vegas" with 26 points and 19 rebounds.