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Of Flagrant Fouls and Shining Stars

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After last night’s dichotomous performances by the Mavs and Stars, it appears we’ll be having our spring over ice, thanks. Because while Dallas’ hockey team was dismantling the San Jose Sharks to take a 2-0 series lead, its basketball team put forth one of the most disturbingly ineffective efforts in the history of the American Airlines Center. Coming off Friday’s Game 3 emotional stand, the Mavs were out-everythinged by the younger, hungrier, better Hornets.

Come tomorrow night, the season will be over. Can Avery Johnson’s era be far behind?

As for the Stars, how about 4-1 on the road in the playoffs? Marty Turco looks solid; Mike Modano looks young; and co-general managers Les Jackson and Brett Hull look genius for acquiring Brad Richards. Which brings us to our weekend grades:

Josh Howard, F- Look, in college I was arrested twice for trespassing, I’ve been sued by DirecTV for pirating its product, I kept more than a couple bookies in business and, yeah, I once inhaled. The point is, far be it from me to tell you to stop impersonating Cheech and/or Chong. Or to stop talking about toking. When you come down off your high, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that your endorsements, youth camps and future in the NBA have, ahem, taken a hit. But, dude, three of 16? In the series, you’re 15 of 58 and getting your ass out-played by Julian Wright. Embarrassing.

Jason Kidd, F It’s not really your fault you were brought here to be a leader and a winner. But just to be clear, at this point in your career, you’re neither. Last night you produced three points, three assists and one flailing takedown around Jannero Pargo’s neck that crystallized your team’s desperation and might get you benched for the last game of the season.

Avery Johnson, D The silver lining? Maybe only once more we’ll have to endure your tired, old explanation of “we settled for jump shots.”

Mark Cuban, D- Wonder if you’ll sue former assistant coach Charlie Parker (now on New Orleans’ staff) for using inside info to whip your Mavs?

Brad Richards, A- Youda man, not da Kidd.

Sergei Zubov, A Your gorgeous, no-look spin-o-rama assist right on Modano’s tape was worth waiting for. Welcome back.

Jerry Jones, C Acquiring Pacman Jones is definitely bold and possibly brilliant. But a first-round pick on a backup running back and no help at receiver during the NFL Draft?

Tyson Thompson, F Uh-oh. Not exactly the vote of confidence you were looking for as a backup runner or kick returner.

Rick Gosselin, F Sorry, but hitting only seven of 31 picks in your final mock draft in Dallas’ Only Daily comes to 22 percent.

Texas Rangers, N/A Seriously, does anyone care anymore? Well, I mean, other than Sam Merten? --Richie Whitt

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