Avery Johnson Wishes Mavs Would Toughen Up, Especially Dampier

by April 22, 2008
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by Marcel Mutoni

There was a pretty hilarious scene during the Mavs/Hornets series opener, during which David West tapped Dirk Nowitzki on the face a couple of times after having taken an inadvertent elbow from the big German. Nowitzki did not react, of course, and that gave his vocal legion of critics plenty of ammunition.

Though most reasonable people seem to agree that Nowitzki was smart not to retaliate, his coach wishes a teammate – namely, Erick Dampier – would’ve stepped up and let the Hornets know that face-tapping would not be tolerated.

“I think more than anything we need players to not back down from anybody,” Avery said during a chat with reporters at the team hotel. “That’s what the playoffs are all about.

“More than Dirk doing something about it, I would have liked for somebody else on the team — preferably in the center position — to do something about it.”

Poor Damp. Every year someone seems to be calling him out. Be it Shaq during the 2006 Finals, and now his own head coach.

I can only hope that being put on blast for the whole world to see will lead Erick Dampier to do something as equally silly as David West’s face tap, something like pinching Chris Paul on the arm.