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Most valuable player: Russell Westbrook was one of the few players who had it going on offense in this one. Westbrook finished with a game-high 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and dished three assists in shortened minutes.
Least valuable player: This could go to any one of the Bulls, but special attention must be given to Carlos Boozer. He scored two points, on 1-of-5 shooting and turned it over three times. He wasn't the worst shooting Bull, but add in his defense and he gets the nod.
That was awful: Chicago has had its fair share of bad offensive games without Derrick Rose, but this was the worst. The Bulls shot 29.1 percent from the field, the lowest percentage for any team this season, and turned it over 18 times.
MVP: Portland's sharpshooting guard didn't let his left ankle injury slow him down, as Wesley Matthews tied a season-high with five 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 24 points.
Defining moment: Avery Bradley did an admirable job for the majority of the evening containing the explosive Damian Lillard, but came up short when it mattered the most. The young guard blew by Bradley on a pick-and-roll for what ultimately was the game-winning layup in traffic with 1:31 remaining.
That was needed: With the victory, the Blazers put a stop to their freefall in the Western Conference standings and snapped a seven-game losing streak. Portland remains four games behind the Rockets for the final playoff spot in the West.
MVP: The godfather of grit and grind came through for the Grizzlies tonight. Tony Allen checked in as things were slipping away in the fourth, and instantaneously made a crucial stop with a trap of Deron Williams.
That was sub-sesquicentennial: The combined scoring output between the two teams failed to break the 150-point mark, as they logged a combined 148 points. The Grizzlies are no stranger to low-scoring bouts, but this is an outlier even for them.
X factor: You may not get the drift by peeking at Zach Randolph's 16 and 14 double-double, but Reggie Evans was in his head all night long, consistently keeping the Grizzlies away from what they wanted to do offensively.
Most valuable player: Best actor on the night went to Kawhi Leonard for his role as leading scorer and defensive force. Leonard scored 16 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and had 3 steals for the Spurs. Leonard's patience and ability to make the most of his opportunities in a game make him an excellent complement to Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.
X factor: Patty Mills came off the bench to score 16 points and brought a needed energy for the Spurs, who started out flat in Tony Parker's absence. Mills' constant motion brought to life the Spurs' bench, which outscored Phoenix's 45-26.
Defining moment: After a slow first quarter which the Suns won 21-19, the Spurs started out the second period on a 20-3 run, effectively putting all the breathing room they needed between themselves and Phoenix.
MVP: Amar'e Stoudemire. As STAT has slumped, so have the 'Bockers, making Sunday night's performance -- 22 points on 9-for-10 shooting -- a healthy bellwether. A few more of these, coach Mike Woodson will have to consider starting the Knicks' big third.
X factor: J.R. Smith. Each of Earl's three second-half triples was more crucially run-staving than the one before, and his late, swooping 'bound off a Raymond Felton miss with the Sixers streaking and within seven was sneaky clutch.
That was desperation in action: After dropping their first two out of the post-All Star gate, the Knicks needed this win like "There Will Be Blood" needs a retroactive Best Picture nod. It wasn't pretty, but it'll do.
MVP: LeBron James had a quiet night for him, which meant he was merely amazing. He posted only 28 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Ho-hum.
X factor: Dwyane Wade was nearly as impressive as his running mate, putting up 24 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. When the Heat were flagging in the second half, he kept the game within the team's grasp.
That was near disaster: The Heat outclassed the Cavs throughout the first half, opening up a 64-46 lead after two quarters. They blew their entire lead in the third before regaining their composure with a few minutes left in the final period.
MVP: Anthony Davis. The Hornets played very well as a team with no particular player carrying too much of the load. Davis nonetheless gets the MVP nod thanks to his tireless effort on offense to keep the Kings out of sync. He had a number of easy scores at the basket and even mixed in a couple of long jumpers.
That was tectonic: Jason Thompson was an earth-quaking, soul-shaking dunk machine as he finished strong around the basket all night. However, he had one mammoth slam in the third quarter that left New Orleans Arena in stunned awe. Thompson's swooping left-handed sledgehammer put-back dunk was the stunning cherry on top of his splendid night.
X factor: John Salmons. After scoring zero points in the first half, Salmons came out on fire in the second half. He had one stretch of three straight triples and finished 6-of-7 from downtown on the night. His hot shooting is what kept the game close for Sacramento. After his hot streak dissipated the Hornets pulled away for the easy win.
MVP: David Lee put in a great line (22-13-3), but this was Jarrett Jack's game. He kept the Warriors afloat in the first quarter and closed the contest late, putting up 23-5-8 with just 2 turnovers.
X factor: The Wolves didn't win, but Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams deserve special mention. Rubio posted the season's first 16-8-11-6 line while keying Minnesota's defense, and Williams put up a hyper-efficient 23-12. Excellent performances by both.
That was a slugfest: Boxing metaphors were made literal by Jack's punch to Greg Stiemsma early in the game, but it's figurative too. While Minnesota delivered an early haymaker, the Warriors buckled down, gave no quarter and won the night. Tough loss.
MVP: Kobe Bryant (38 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists) is true to his word. He intended to break his 3-point shooting slump, and did, shooting 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. So when he guarantees the playoffs, I'm inclined to believe him.
X factor: What is it about the midrange shot that is so magnetic to teams like the Mavericks? Dallas shot 10-for-35 on 2-point attempts outside of the restricted area. All those bad shots made a difference.
That was good ol' Dirk: Dirk Nowitzki (30 points, 13 rebounds) had his finest game of the season. So much has changed between the two teams since 2011, but the offensive potency of their two franchise players remains a constant.
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Would Dwight Come To Dallas?
DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki described the Lakers as a "perfect situation" for Dwight Howard earlier this season, which isn't exactly the best way to begin the recruiting pitch in an attempt to bring the NBA's best big man to Dallas.
Of course, there's been a ton of drama in Los Angeles since Dirk made that comment while venting frustration and expressing doubt about the Mavericks' plan to "build around hope." With the Lakers on the outside of the playoff picture looking in and Howard continuing to butt heads with Kobe Bryant, there's legitimate reason to believe that Howard will seriously consider leaving $30-plus million on the table and leaving L.A. this summer.
"I guess you never know," Nowitzki told ESPNDallas.com this week. "That's up to Dwight. You never know what's in a player's mind. I don't know him. I guess we just have to wait and see how the season ends for them. That's something that's out of our control.
"We'll have to wait and see what happens there. They've had some issues everybody's following them but I still think they're so talented. I still think they're going to make a run at it."
For the sake of discussion, let's say the Lakers don't make a run at it. Let's assume that Howard gets so sick of the prima-donna power struggle with Kobe that he walks this summer.
Can the Mavericks convince Howard that Dallas is the best destination for him? Of the teams that can create enough cap space to sign him, the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets would seem to be the stiffest competition.