By Michael Tillery

The Dallas Mavs lost to the surging Sixers (really? wow) 84-76. Andre Miller, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, went to work on Dallas–especially when the Sixers needed a bucket. He scored 21 points, had 8 boards, and dropped 7 dimes to lead the Sixers to their fourth straight win. The Sixers are creating a lot of excitement in a town starving for something good to cheer about. The young fellas are getting out on the break after creating turnovers and throwing down easy dunks. They were horrible early in the season. I asked Mo Cheeks after the game how his team was going to sustain this positive vibe going into the break and he cut me off…saying: “We have one more game before the break…Memphis Wednesday. We get through that and then we’ll talk.”

Sounds good Mo.

Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki both had back problems during the game that helped diminish their effectiveness–Howard in a collision with Reggie Evans and Nowitzki (4-13 shooting, 15 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) the result of tightness. Howard left the game for good with 17 at the 7:17 mark but said after the game he would be OK. Dirk had to endure boos from the crowd after standing up instead of sitting on the bench during substitutions. Not to take anything away from the Sixers, but Dallas seemed tired after getting trounced by New Jersey the other night. The Mavs scored only 23 points in the second half and were 6-23 from behind the line.

After the game I sat down with Josh Howard, the man who would trade places in a second with Hugh Hefner (his words) to get some random quotes:

MT: What do you say to folks that say Dallas won’t win a championship because they perceive you as soft?

J-Ho: (Laughs) That’s their opinion. They don’t come here night in and night out and play ball with us and practice with us. They are just going on what the media is telling them. I know I’m not soft. I would love to see the person who says that in front of me when I have the ball.

MT: What NBA player comes to mind when you think underrated?

J-Ho. Hedu Turkoglu. I think he deserves to be in the All Star game.

MT: Speaking of the All-Star Game….You are one of the best players in the league without question. You were named to the team last year only when someone was injured. When you you think you are going to get your respect due?

J-Ho: I feel like the All-Star roster is already pre-chosen. They name who they want. If they want to then I’ll get the opportunity to step up and get the chance to play but…

Some dudes are different. I’d rather win a championship than go to an All-Star game any day.

MT: Best and worst Reynolds Park moment (Park where he played ball growing up).

J-Ho: (Laughs) You know your stuff. I ain’t got no worse. The best was dunkin’ on a college guy when I was in high school playing some midnight ball–on game point. I was in 11th and he was a junior in college.

MT: Did it give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that you were able to go back to the park you basically learned the game on and make it look brand new for the youngsters?

J-Ho
: (Smiles) Oh yeah. It was the court I grew up on. To get that opportunity was a blessing. I also wanted to let the community know that it’s always good to give back. I hope someone can follow me and do the same down the line.

MT: What impact did your mom and grand mom have on not only your basketball career but your life?

J-Ho
: They taught me to take life and live it to the fullest–especially my grand mom. She raised six kids and then my mom came along and raised me and my brother before my step-dad came. They were hardworking women who made me understand that no matter what you go through to keep your head up.

That’s my motto.