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Three Points

March 25, 2007|PAUL NETTER

PAYING DIVIDENDS

Besides the best record, the Dallas Mavericks have something else that no one else has.

A free-throw coach.

Gary Boren, 67, who also does investment banking, has been in the job since 1999.

And he has gotten results, with Dallas finishing first in that category four times and no worse than sixth in his tenure. The Mavericks (81.0%) lead the league, with the Phoenix Suns (80.4%) the only other team above 80%. Dallas is also the only team whose top five scorers are all making at least 80% of their free throws, including Dirk Nowitzki at 90.1%.

Boren credits his tutor, Denny Price, father of Mark Price, the all-time leader (90.4%).

BURNED AT HOME

The San Antonio Spurs, with at least nine home losses for the first time since the 2001-02 season, have suffered some stinging defeats at the AT&T Center.

The worst was a March 17 loss to lowly Boston, the Celtics' first victory in San Antonio in 17 years. The Cleveland Cavaliers also won there Nov. 3 for the first time since December 1988.

Perhaps more significant were the double blows delivered by their fellow Texans. The Houston Rockets ended a 17-game losing streak to the Spurs by beating them in both trips to San Antonio and Dallas swept both games in the city for the first time in 11 years.

IN THE MONEY

The 20-year progression of the salary cap illuminates just how good business has been.

For the 1986-87 season, the cap was $4.9 million and the average salary was $431,000. The cap is now $53.1 million and the average salary is $5.2 million.

The cap began in 1984.

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