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Monday Links

Atlanta coach and Anthony Johnson on the Mavs.

"They're a machine," Johnson said before the Mavericks made their first nine shots and piled up 39 points in the game's first 12 minutes, an opponent season-high. "Everything they do, it's done with a purpose." Woodson said it all stems from the Mavericks' collective experience and the no-nonsense approach of their coach, Avery Johnson, who celebrated his 42nd birthday Sunday. "They treat every game like it's Game 7 of the NBA Finals," Woodson said. "And they do that because they're playing for one thing and one thing only -- that's to win a championship."
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The Mavs weren't completely satisfied with their win yesterday.
"I told our guys I appreciated the way they came out and played hard," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "And I appreciated the way they finished, especially offensively.

"But as you saw, we're not the flawless team that everyone thinks we are."

"We have to try not to have those lapses where we forget to play defense," Mavericks forward Josh Howard said.

"We didn't play the game we wanted to," said Dirk Nowitzki, who had 28 points but only four rebounds. "At least in the fourth quarter, we got some good shots and Jason was on fire. He's been great on this trip."
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Art Garcia writes about Avery taking a break for his Birthday, but my favorite part of the article was this story from yesterday's game.
The Mavs were nursing a five-point lead (89-84), and Jason Terry was dribbling outside the 3-point line. Avery Johnson, at the other end of the court, barked out to Terry and Jerry Stackhouse to run a pick-and-roll.

Stackhouse took a pass, and Johnson said, "Set the pick, Jet."

Terry did, Stackhouse went left for a couple of dribbles and fired the ball back to Terry, who calmly drilled a 3-pointer.

The lead was back up to eight (92-84) with 3:52 left. Johnson, subtly pleased, turned and walked back to the bench.
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Injury Update: Greg Buckner and Devean George are both feeling better, but it sounds like they have a ways to go before they're really game ready.
"My leg feels good," George said. "That's the most important thing. Now it's just about getting my timing back.

"I've got a little way to go. That will come."

Greg Buckner returned in Boston after missing four games with a sprained right knee. He failed to score in 10 minutes Sunday.

"Devean George and Greg Buckner aren't anywhere close to where I need them to be," Johnson said. "If we had to start the playoffs tomorrow, I would really be concerned."