Mavericks 97, Raptors 96

While NBA Fanhouse’s Brett Edwards suggests Toronto’s early Sunday matinees are designed to catch the visitors napping, it was the Rapors defense that forgot about Josh Howard earlier today. The Dallas Morning News’ Eddie Sefko describes the game’s climatic moment.

Jason Terry found a wide-open Josh Howard under the basket, and Howard’s layup with 0.9 seconds left supplied the second Mavericks lead of the game and a 97-96 victory at Air Canada Centre.

“All I had to do was read it, like I was a quarterback,” Terry said of the winning play. “When I saw their two guys go with Dirk [Nowitzki], I knew J-Ho would come open. We work on that play in practice every day. That’s a very serious part of practice.”

Dirk the decoy drew the defense “ and why not after he’d dropped 38 points on the Raptors? “ and Howard did his part, cutting to the basket and scoring after T.J. Ford flew past and Chris Bosh couldn’t recover in time.

“Both of them committed to Dirk, and I knew I just had to flash in there,” Howard said.

The New York Post’s Peter Vescey suggests another Michigan native (Dr. Jack Kevorkian) for the underachieving Pistons instead of Chris Webber, along with suggesting “maybe it’s time to supplant Flip Saunders with assistant Terry Porter. “I just can’t see anyone agreeing to play for Flip if he doesn’t have to,” slammed an expert witness who, as a rule, can scarcely touch the rim.”

Newsday’s Alan Hahn is dismayed at MSG’s decision to sell advertising space on the venue’s exterior facade for Eddie Murphy’s forthcoming “Norbit”. It could be worse. I mean, at least none of Hahn’s relatives sent him a DVD of “I-Spy” for Christmas.