Behind 30 points from His Dirkness (above) and 29 from Jason Terry, the Mavs’ 98-81 defeat of the Spurs left the hosts winless after their first three games.  San Antonio head coach Greg Popovich, as quoted by the Express News’ Mike Monroe, used the occasion to address that most urgent of matters — crazed xenophobia.

On a night when nationalism took center stage in America, Popovich segued from the importance of defense to NBA championship teams to the arrogance of calling the NBA title the world championship.

“The Celtics,” Popovich said, “were a great defensive team last year; Detroit was a great defender when they won it. When we’ve won, we’ve been first or second or third in all those defensive categories, and Miami was the same when they won it.”

“If you’re going to get an NBA championship, that’s where you’ve got to go.”

Then, Popovich got on a rant about the importance of international competition.

“Notice,” he said, “I didn’t say world championship. There’s no such thing for these teams, although many haven’t figured that out yet.”

“Did any of us who won a championship play anybody in Spain or Russia or Italy, or any other country, other than the United States?”

“I don’t know why it’s called the (baseball) World Series, and I don’t know why they call (the NBA title) the World Championship. I never have gotten it. I still don’t get it, but people continue to do it. One would think either stubbornness, or hubris, or something like that had something to do with it. But in these days, when things are so obvious, it’s remarkable to me that people still can’t figure that out.”