By Sam Rubenstein

I went to bed last night as the Mavs played the Warriors, assuming that Dallas would win their 18th in a row, the Suns would take care of Houston, and we’d be ready for the game of the year on Wednesday. For a brief second, I sat up in bed and thought to myself “Can Golden State really pull this off? No, that’s crazy talk.” Wrong. Not crazy. The pressure of the streak has been released, and now Phoenix will have to take on an angry Dallas team in big D on Wednesday night. The Mavs have not lost many times this season, but when they do, they take it personally and respond with an indignant fury. The Suns should be afraid. They should be very afraid.

GOLDEN STATE 117 DALLAS 100
Dirk had a nightmare of a game, shooting 3 of 11, turning the ball over 7 times, and going through what seemed to be a psychological meltdown. He flattened Baron Davis out of frustration and picked up a tech after Avery took him out of the game, for talking to a ref while on the bench. Nellie and the Warriors own the Mavs for some reason, and on this night they brought out the steamroller. It wasn’t as close as the 17 point score indicates. The latest unbeatable streak came crashing down to earth, killing all vegetation and millions of animals in the process. Congrats to the Golden State Warriors, who are still a game out of the playoffs. Do something with this momentum! They’ve already beaten the Mavs twice this season, and they could be headed to a first round playoff series where the Warriors can put the fear of God in Dallas, or make them so angry the Mavs sweep by a combined 200 points in four games. Dirk’s postgame quote: “We were backpedaling all game long. We were just never really ready to play. That’s something we’ve got to learn from if we want to do anything this year in the postseason.” Avery has got these guys trained to kill anything that moves. And they hate puppy dogs and sunshine. The NBA needs villains, and I think we can force the Mavs to fill that role. Dallas Mavericks, you losers.

PHOENIX 103 HOUSTON 82
Meanwhile, the Suns had no such problem. Leandro Barbosa’s speed overwhelmed the grindhouse Rockets, who couldn’t slow things down. Barbosa had 32, Marion had 14 and 15 as well as some shut down defense on T-Mac, and Yao was held to 1 of 9 shooting. The Suns are flying high, burning hot, whatever you want to call it they are ready for Wednesday. This works out nicely, cause Wednesday is the only regular season NBA game that matters, and then the NCAA tourney gets going the next day when nobody cares about the NBA. Like I wrote yesterday, we will be on the dark side of the moon, where the ship orbits and nobody on Earth can see it until it comes back around into the light, the light being April. Is everyone confused? Good. D’Antoni was tossed for picking up a double tech for the first time in two years and had a pretty amusing comment about referee Ron Olesiak “We were friends at halftime. I don’t know what happened. The relationship just went downhill in the second half. I just said a couple of things I shouldn’t have said. He should have tossed me. It happens. We’re all kids out there.” So the Suns are laughing while the Mavs are bubbling with rage. Prediction for tomorrow night: PAIN.

And the three other games…

NEW JERSEY 113 MEMPHIS 102
Richard Jefferson made his return, the Nets got 24 from Mikki Moore to complement Vince’s 30, as the Grizzlies have not yet won back to back games this season. That’s pretty sad.

TORONTO 108 MILWAUKEE 93
The Raptors smell the playoffs and a division title and they are surging towards it. Even with Michael Redd scoring 29 and Charlie Bell’s 25, the Bucks were overmatched. Chris Bosh had 25 and 10 and T.J. Ford had 19 and 9.

CHARLOTTE 119 ORLANDO 108
The Bobcats hit 14 of 22 threes, which is surprising because Orlando is supposed to be the playoff bound team here. They didn’t look like it, to put it gently. Dwight Howard racked up some big numbers in garbage time, but this was about the lights out Cats. 24 points and 10 assists for Derek Anderson. Charlotte had 39 assists as a team out of 42 field goals. Orlando drops below Jersey, into the 10th spot in the East, and now the Sixers – on a seven game winning streak – are kind of sort of maybe near the playoff picture. Wow, Eastern Conference. Just wow.