In Dallas, Even the Fans Play "D"

No doubt the Dallas Mavericks' defense is tougher this season. So are their fans. During a particularly violent third quarter in last night's gritty home win over the Portland Trail Blazers, three fans were involved in nasty collisions with propelled players. The first was the worst: Mavs guard Devin Harris chased a loose ball along the sideline and wound up diving into the first row, where his elbow said hello to a woman's face. The fan, shaken but smiling, received attention for a bloody nose and a nice ovation as she was escorted off the court. Minutes later, Dirk Nowitzki tumbled backward under the basket and over a KTXA-Channel 21 cameraman. And, finally, Blazers guard Sebastian Telfair chased a ball toward the sideline and grazed a waitress delivering drinks to the rich and powerful. She lost her balance and a beer but not her temper. The cameraman laughed and shook Dirk's hand, the waitress playfully sprinted out of harm's way, and even the bloodied woman cracked a smile. As of yet (fingers crossed) not a single mention of a lawsuit. Compare those reactions to this wimp in Minnesota , and it's easy to be proud this season about not only the Mavs but their fans. Take a bow. Or ram your head into a brick wall. —Richie Whitt

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