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Avery Johnson throws praise Mavs' way

DALLAS -- After the Dallas Mavericks rather easily -- with the exception of a seven-minite hiccup in the third-quarter -- got by Avery Johnson's New Jersey Nets, 102-89, for their 11th consecutive victory, Johnson gave this assessment of his former team:

"They are tough. They are tough," said Johnson, whose club lost its sixth in a row and dropped to 6-17 on the season. "Just when you think you got them, you know Dirk [Nowitzki] will hit a big shot. We got it to about seven, eight or nine there and then Dirk pops a 3 on us. Just a veteran team. They know what to do. They mix in their man [defense], they go to a zone a little bit and throw that curve ball on you. They do a nice job and they got a lot of big guys inside now."

After the game, Johnson visited with several players, including Nowitzki and Jason Terry, the only two remaining players from the 2006 Finals squad, and he said hello to Mavs owner Mark Cuban.

"It was pretty emotional," Johnson said. "A lot of friends and family are here tonight that I am going to visit with here in a second. But it was good seeing some of the guys. I had a chance to visit with Mark after the game and a lot of people that meant a lot to me both as a player and a coach."