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Moment of Truth

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Just got back from Mavericks’ shootaround at American Airlines Center in preparation for tonight’s showdown against the Lakers, and I can report the following:

1. Commence your ark building.

2. It’s sad watching Phil Jackson walk with a cane.

3. This, my friends, is a huge week for your Mavericks. On the court and off.

In addition to tonight’s clash, the Mavs host the Celtics Thursday and the Spurs Sunday. Currently seventh in the Western Conference, Dallas could finish this telling trio as high as third or as low as out of the friggin’ playoffs. I know they’ve clobbered five have-nots in a row, but the Mavs don’t yet have a signature win over an elite team since the Jason Kidd trade. To be taken seriously as a championship contender, they need to sweep these three at home. Right?

You keep an eye on the court, and I’ll keep checking the locker room, where, as noted earlier, the team’s new blogger ban also gets a stiff test this week. And it's about to get a whole lot ... stiffer?

The national media are descending upon Dallas to gawk at these pivotal games. So far it looks like Mark Cuban's no-bloggers-allowed policy remains in play, as I was told this morning that -- despite his credibility and wide-spread popularity -- ESPN True Hoop’s Henry Abbott will not be allowed access to the locker room.

I dunno, something smells fishy about all this. Despite their cries from atop Mount Martyr, Dallas’ Only Daily is not the lone target of the policy. And my gut tells me there’s more to the genesis of this whole scenario than a simple blog criticism of Avery Johnson. Stay tuned. --Richie Whitt

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