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Coming Attractions

March 04, 2007|MARK HEISLER

They can't keep this up, can they? At the Dallas Mavericks' 50-5 pace since starting 0-4, they would win 71 games, second only to the Bulls' 72 in 1995-96.

There's no one bearing down on the Mavericks anymore, except their demanding little coach, Avery Johnson.

Johnson, 16-2 after taking over for Don Nelson at the end of the 2004-05 season, has an eye-popping 126-33 regular-season record.

However, no team as good has ever faced as much good competition. In 1995-96 the Bulls won the East by 12 games. The Mavericks started the weekend leading the Suns, Spurs and Jazz by 4 1/2 , nine and 10, respectively.

No one has to tell Johnson. Remembering the four-game losing streak that ended last season, he said last week, "We don't have anything to prove for a game in February. Prove it when you end the season with a victory."

--MARK HEISLER

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