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Mavs 101, Lakers 96: Do You Believe?

Was that a statement game? Or merely one of 82?

Playing without Caron Butler (who missed the game after an adverse reaction to medication, not because he ran out of Mountain Dew or straws), the Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Lakers in a playoff-intense game at American Airlines Center. Jay-Z and Beyonce were in the house. Kobe Bryant (9 of 23) was in uniform.

Delicious.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry combined for 61 points and the Mavs improved to 2-2 against L.A. this season. I'm not about to say the Mavs have the Lakers' number, but they at least have their attention.

More importantly, Dallas is now 5-1 since the All-Star break trade that looks even better now that Josh Howard is out for the season with a torn ACL. The trade has re-shaped a roster and no doubt rejuvenated interest in the team.

Let's don't scream "Bring on the Lakers" just yet, but Dallas now has no reason to be scared of the Nuggets or Jazz.

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