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Dallas Mavericks in L.A.: Tonight the Salad; Tomorrow the Steak

Over the past decade the Dallas Mavericks have been the NBA's best team at winning games they were supposed to win. In building a legacy of 11 consecutive seasons with 50+ wins and playoff appearances, the Mavericks rarely lose against inferior opponents.

It's the toss-up games or underdog ventures in which they've failed miserably.

And, right on time, the Mavs have one of each the next two nights at Los Angeles' Staples Center.

Since humbling home losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs earlier this month, the Mavs have regrouped and beat up on the bad teams. They've quietly won their last four over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns.

Which causes us -- honestly, like spoiled, entitled brats -- to yawn.

Tonight the Mavs face another losing, non-playoff outfit in the Los Angeles Clippers. They should win. They will win.

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Which will set up tomorrow night's showdown with the Lakers. At stake will likely be the No. 2 seed in the NBA's Western Conference playoffs and home-court advantage in the West semifinals if the Lakers and Mavs should meet after winning their first-round series.

In that game, of course, the Mavs will be underdogs. Dallas will playing the second of back-to-back nights; the Lakers will have been rested since Sunday. And, don't look now, but the Lakers are 15-1 since the All-Star break.

Oh yeah, and I know I should've gotten to Shawn Marion's disgustingly crooked pinky, but I've been a little swamped this week with more pressing issues like current criminals, past owners and future radio lineups. But, wow, it's amazing the guy can dribble.

It's the ugliest pinky this side of Roger Staubach.

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