Putting the D back in Dallas

Defense made the difference as the Mavericks handed the Hornets their first loss

Updated: November 16, 2010, 9:38 AM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Is it possible that the Dallas Mavericks actually enjoy playing defense, and even find themselves challenging one another to rise up when games get down and dirty in crunch time?

"I think it would be better to ask the players that question because we identify defense as the No. 1 variable to us being a true contending team," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "If the answer is yes, then we're making some real progress. If the answer is something else, then we've got to take a hard ...

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