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Tomorrow Dirk's first MVP will become official. It will be interesting to see how many fewer votes he'll get next season, even if he is far better statistically. Something tells me all the people who said "Nash's numbers are better than when he won it last year" won't be using that same logic for Dirk.

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Eddie Sefko has a good article about Moses Malone, who won the MVP twice in a season that his team was knocked out in the first round. Malone defends Dirk.

"He deserves to be the MVP," Malone said from Houston earlier this week. "He had a great year. If he wins it, he deserves it. His team had 67 wins. That's a great season. He shouldn't have any letdown if he wins. It's an honor he deserves, and he should accept the MVP trophy with a lot of pride. He should have no shame, because he earned it."

"But it's not about the playoffs," Malone said. "Dirk did a great job all season. When you get double- and triple-teamed in the playoffs, it's hard to get off a shot. It's tough when you got guys swarming you all the time. You can't do anything. You can't put the blame on one guy. It's not a one-man team. It's a unit. You win with 12 guys. He did a great job with the Mavs. There's no shame there."

"You understand the way things are and you always want to go deeper into the playoffs and you want to be a champion," Malone said. "But there's a lot of people who win the MVP of the league and aren't champions. He's not the only great athlete who didn't win the title. He'll keep his head high and come back even stronger."
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In an even less surprising move than Devean George opting out of his contract, the Mavs have exercised their option on DeSagana Diop. The Mavs will pay him 2.15 million next season -- the final year of his deal.

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The story behind Dirk's SLAM Magazine cover.
We thought the potential for evil would be a good thing to try and get at. (After all, I was told that SLAM's creative braintrust had decided to run with the Sin City theme, so it'd probably work well with the story if Dirk revealed a darker, badassier side.)

So I asked Dirk if he ever felt like the villain out there on the court. He shot me this incredulous look. "What? Me?!?! I'm not a bad guy!" he exclaimed, sounding surprised and even a little offended that I'd even go there. I was momentarily stunned and a little shaken by how adamant he was that he was a nice guy.
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Tim Cowlishaw is on the prowl for a point guard.

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Bruce Bowen's availability for game four against the Suns is in question. The NBA is reviewing this play in which he kneed Nash in the groin. I don't think the NBA would be looking at it if Bowen hadn't kicked Amare in the achilles earlier in the series.

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This Day in Mavs History
1988 Fat Lever (Den) had a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists. It was the 4th time a Mavs opponent had a triple-double in the playoffs and the 2nd of 3 times Lever had a triple-double against Dallas.
Less than two years later, the Mavs traded two first round picks for Lever. Those picks were Willie Burton and LaBradford Smith.