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Josh Howard is a Force of Nature

I think I've relayed before my feelings on Josh Howard - highly underrated, absolute All-Star, one of the most important Team USA players going forward.

Last night was my frist chance to see him live. I was legitimately bummed when Dirk didn't run out for warmups with his savage friends, but Howard made up for the missing 'wow' factor with an incredible game.

Just a menace everywhere. His defense wasn't jawdropping this night, but his tenacity was. His offense... he could easily be the #1 guy on an NBA team, no question. Maybe not a 65-win team, like these Mavs, but a decent to good team. His jumper is smooth, his slashing ability is high in the all-NBA rankings, and his passing is much better than I expected.

These Mavericks sort of look like Josh Howard - they're vultures, hovering and waiting to attack. Always brooding, nearly faceless, just pounding and hitting and running and pounding. I'd be afraid to go seven games with them, afraid of all the bruises and shiners I'd have. That's a tough team, even without Dirk.

For everyone else: Kusian nailed it in the game thread. Jason Terry never went on a run where you were like, "Wow, Jason Terry!" He just kept the offensive pressure on the entire time. Ron-Ron was a beast - even Mrs. TZ (not a Ron fan in the least) proclaimed he was the most entertaining King by far. Kevin Martin wasn't timid - he got 15 free throws - but he passed up some other opportunities. Trust me, in a few years, we'll be thankful he's so unselfish. It's a terrific trait for a scorer to have. Yes, now we want him to take 30 shots. But this learning experience will pay off.

One final thing: it is remarkable how many substitutions Avery Johnson goes through. That second quarter was, like, 50 minutes long. Calm down, Avery! You've won 61 games!