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NBA: Mavs look for answers

Associated Press
DALLAS ó Jason Terry is the Dallas Mavericks’ mood-lifter, the guy who pumps up teammates and fans every chance he gets.
Yet after enduring a second straight pounding in Denver, Terry couldn’t fake being positive.”Not tonight,” he said, declining to be interviewed. “I don’t have anything tonight.”
The Mavericks went into this second-round series convinced they could hang with the Nuggets, pointing to three narrow losses in the regular season as proof.
So far, Denver has toyed with Dallas. The Nuggets are up 2-0 in the series and 6-0 for the season. For the Mavericks to advance, they must win four of the next five. Game 3 is Saturday in Dallas.
Mavs forward Josh Howard has several days to heal the right ankle sprain sustained in Game 1. The injury limited him to a few early minutes in Game 2.
Hawks-Cavaliers
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio ó Cleveland is allowing just 76.8 points per game, more than 11 fewer than the next team ó Houston (87.9) ó still alive in the postseason.
Game 2 of the Cleveland-Atlanta series is tonight, and Cavs coach Mike Brown expects guard Sasha Pavlovic (broken nose) to be available. The Hawks kept Al Horford (sore right ankle) out of practice Wednesday, and he will be a game-time decision.
All-DEFENSIVE TEAM
NEW YORK ó Orlando center Dwight Howard once again swatted away his competition.
Picked last month as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, he drew the most votes for the league’s All-Defensive Team.
Howard was joined by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett on the first team.Chosen for the second team were: Tim Duncan, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, Shane Battier and Ron Artest.
Russell-Auerbach
NEW YORK ó Bill Russell noted with amusement that the coach in question didn’t make the playoffs this year.
Russell can’t fathom why then-Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles benched center Ben Wallace for wearing a headband in violation of team rules during a 2006 game.
“What did it have to do with anything that’s important at all?” Russell said. “All it does is establish: I’m the coach, and you have to do what I say.”
Red Auerbach didn’t operate that way, a portrait Russell hopes to share in his new book about his beloved, wildly successful coach in the NBA. “Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend,” written with Alan Steinberg, was released this week.
After Auerbach died in October 2006, Russell wanted to illustrate what made him great. The best way he knew how was to describe the way Auerbach coached the five-time MVP center.
“I was not a chess piece,” Russell said. “He knew that in order to get the best out of me, we had to converse as two men.”
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Atlanta Florida
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UmpiresóHome, Mike Reilly; First, Laz Diaz; Second, Chuck Meriwether; Third, Eric Cooper.
Tó3:08. Aó12,725 (38,560).

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