- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 9, 2001

Seen and heard last night at AmericanAirlines Center in Dallas:
LATE SCRATCH Dirk Nowitzki, probably the best player on the Mavericks' roster, missed the game because of a strained left ankle tendon. Apparently, Nowitzki suffered the injury after the team's morning shootaround because he showed no sign of the injury there. However, he walked with a visible limp before the game.
That was good news for the Wizards because Nowitzki had been one of the hottest players in the league, averaging a team-high 24.3 points. In the team's previous seven games, Nowitzki had scored at least 32 points in four of them.
PUMPING CUBAN Say what you will about Dallas owner Mark Cuban. Say that he loves the media attention (he does) or say that he probably thinks he knows more about basketball than he really does (that's true, too), but the guy does love his team.
Before the game, Cuban was in the Mavericks' weight room pumping iron with the players. In fact, Cuban was handling more weight in some exercises than certain players.
At the game, Cuban sat courtside wearing a "Lord of the Rings" T-shirt.
John N. Mitchell



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