Answering a few questions following the Dallas Mavericks' 108-72 win over the Los Angeles Lakers ...
Streaks, good and bad
How many wins do the Mavericks finish with?
I think they're going to lose three more. So 70-12 it is, from 52-9 right now. They've gotten better every month. When you look at teams constructed without a dominant center, the only team that looks to be better are the great Bulls clubs.
The Mavs' 17-game win streak is on the line against the Golden State Warriors on Monday. Baron Davis might be out. Should we put 18 on the board now?
In my conversation with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, he pointed out that they've lost this year to two of the next four teams they play, including Golden State. So, no you can't assume.
After this darkest of nights, how many wins for the Lakers (33-31), who've now lost six straight?
I see them winning 42 or 43 games, holding the sixth spot in the West.
What's their problem?
In my conversation with Kobe Bryant before the game, he said it's not just that they lost players to injuries -- the triangle offense is not an offense that you can just fill guys in. You really saw it tonight -- it's an offense that takes a good year and a half to learn with positioning lessons. Once learned, the triangle is great in its versatility -- you can put guys in multiple positions to do multiple things. It will be good for them to get Luke Walton back for the next game.
What's up with Smush Parker, whose not exactly endearing himself to Phil Jackson?
He's really costing himself an opportunity to stay in this league is what we're hearing.
At what point did you believe it was possible that your partner, John Saunders, would exclaim "Mensah Bonsu!!!" at a point in Sunday's telecast? Because it actually happened on a dunk by the seldom-used Mavs rookie.
The thought crossed my mind when Dallas was going on one of those runs -- Kobe had that defeated look -- that's one I had myself in Vancouver many nights. It's when you're facing a supremely talented, focused team like Dallas. At that point during a commercial break, it was time to make sure the pronunciation was correct on Pops.
Here's your chance to be a prophet. Care to predict a dynasty in Big D?
Wait, they haven't won one championship yet. I have the greatest respect for Dallas, but I could see Detroit beating them. As great as they are, if you have the personnel to match, you can cause issues for them. I think Detroit has two guys who can guard Dirk in Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince.
San Antonio has the personnel to do it, and in the right environment, even Phoenix. San Antonio has won championships -- it means a lot to know how it's done.
What are your latest thoughts on the East/West divide?
The bottom of the playoff teams are looking comparable. And even though recordwise they are inferior to the West's best, I'm not betting against Detroit or Miami.
ESPN analyst Greg Anthony is on ESPN's Coast to Coast Tuesday from 9-11 p.m. on ESPN2. All questions above posed by ESPN.com editor Andrew Ayres.
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Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Heat forward Udonis Haslem gets mobbed by teammates after hitting the winning shot to beat the Wizards 106-104, pushing the Heat to four games over .500.
LeBron James may force us to create yet another statistical category: the fourth-quarter takeover. James scored 16 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter Saturday as the Cavaliers overcame Milwaukee's 81-69 lead to take a 94-92 decision.
It was the third time in James' four seasons as a pro he has scored 16 or more points in the fourth quarter of a game in which his team overcame a fourth-quarter double-digit deficit to win. Dwyane Wade, who also has done that three times, is the only other NBA player who has had at least three such games over the last four seasons.
As NBA scouts turn their attention to the NCAA Tournament, which players should you keep an eye on as well?
Chad Ford has an idea or two.
Lakers fall victim to Mavs' 17th straight win
Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Magic center Darko Milicic hits a great wall from China, Yao Ming, during the Rockets' 103-92 win over the Magic.
Quote of the Day
-- Andrew Ayres
Henry (NY): I have league pass and I actually specifically watch Mav games because I love seeing Dirk Nowitzki swish crazy jumpers all over the place. My problem with your article is that you are enthralled by the Pistons? They arguably play the most boring brand of basketball in the league! I find their games completely unwatchable.
Eric Neel: I hear you, Henry. The Pistons thing, yeah, it's not for everyone: To me, the thing that makes them compelling is that almost their whole crew is made up of guys other teams didn't want, castoffs. I like the us-against-the-world anger and swagger that gives them.
Kobe Bryant wholeheartedly endorsed the idea of signing Scottie Pippen.
"I think Scottie would be absolutely magnificent coming here and helping us out," said Bryant, who has not spoken to Pippen and has no plans to unless he signs. "He's really interested in doing it, the team has contacted him, and I'm sure we'll speak. We're good friends."
With the Cavaliers one point shy of 100, a mark that gives Cleveland fans a free giveaway chalupa from Taco Bell, forward Anderson Varejao launched a 3-pointer just before the final horn of a 99-88 win over Indiana.
Varejao's shot wasn't close but it irked Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, who stood at his bench and glared at Cleveland's mop-haired forward.
"I wasn't happy either," LeBron James said. "We're not that type of team and he [Varejao] knows not to do that again, it's as simple as that. He has to learn from that. You never want to do that. We're up 11 points and you never want to show off. He definitely made a mistake and he learned from it."
Pacers guard Orien Greene said the Pacers didn't appreciate Varejao's last-second fling.
"You're not supposed to do that," he said. "Everyone knows it and it upset us, but we're more upset about the loss and the losing streak than that."
Varejao was not available for comment.
-- The Associated Press