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Who's the Big Shot in Dallas?

Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com did some work.

He took all kinds of questions from readers to people like Mark Cuban, Avery Johnson, Del Harris, and others.

Then he wrote a mini-article in response to each of 15 questions.

Questions ranged from is the team experimenting at the moment? (Yes.) Is Avery Johnson being kinder and gentler? Is Dirk Nowitzki being reinvented? What's wrong with the team's free-throw shooting? (Answer to that one: there's some stuff going on with Dirk's shot, nonetheless the team is shooting better than any other in NBA history.) Fascinating report card on the team 20 or so games into the seaon.

Two of the questions ended up directly addressing something I always wonder about when I watch the team: who gets the big shot? In big plays during the playoffs, it seemed like the team sometimes didn't know the answer to that question. Sometimes Jason Terry would just fire away. Sometimes Nowitzki would pass up what looked like the first option. Sometimes Jerry Stackhouse would be the guy ...

IS THERE A NO. 1 OPTION ON OFFENSE? A TOTEM POLE, OF SORTS? DO THE MAVS LIKE TO 'RIDE THE HOT HAND'?

Jason Terry is watching two TV screens. And he's got the headphones half-on. But he happily puts his electronics on hold to entertain a question he finds intriguing.

"It's not set in stone,'' Jet says as he sits in front of his luxury locker stall. "There are the plays we run, and we run them for a reason. But on top of that, we all need to know, for instance, that Josh tends to be very aggressive early in the game, so let's get him the ball. You want Dirk to be aggressive throughout the game, and he needs his touches. And then late in games, we have me andJason Terry we have Stack.''

I look at what I've just scribbled down. Josh. Dirk. Me (Terry). Stack.

Looks like a "pecking order,'' a "totem pole,'' to me.

"I wouldn't say that; I don't like that phrase,'' Terry says. "But it does seem to fall that way most nights, doesn't it?''

WHAT'S WITH THAT FOUR-FINGER SIGN JET THROWS UP AFTER MAKING A LONG-RANGE SHOT?

"Dirk actually started that, and I stole it from him,'' says Jason Terry, who then stands up in front of his locker and hoists up two hands full of fingers, as if to model for me.

"The call me 'The Fourth-Quarter Man,' because everybody knows I can miss some shots in the first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter, it's going in! ... You should see the ribbing I get in practice, though, when I miss one. 'What's a matter, Fourth-Quarter Man?' they yell.

"And it's usually Dirk doing the yelling.''

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)