- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- Shawn Marion still considers himself an All-Star.
Never mind that it’s been five years since he’s actually been selected to the All-Star Game. In the mind of the Matrix, his game is still the same as it’s ever been.
“I don’t sell myself short for nobody,” Marion said after scoring 16 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out six assists and playing suffocating defense on Denver point guard Ty Lawson during Wednesday’s lopsided win. “If I didn’t have high expectations for myself, I might as well just hang ‘em up.”
Marion might not have the kind of numbers that merited All-Star consideration this season, averaging 12.0 points and 6.3 rebounds, but he’s playing as well as he has since leaving Phoenix. That’s high praise for a man who made a major contribution to the Mavs’ title run last season.
The Matrix is the one man the 19-11 Mavs have been able to count on all season. He reported in phenomenal shape and is the only player on the roster to play in every game this season. He’s been efficient offensively and excellent on the other end, guarding everything from power forwards to point guards to prompt owner Mark Cuban to promote him as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
“He looks comfortable,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “On the defensive end, I thought he was always great. Offensively, he’s being aggressive, running right to the post and his floater game is there. He just plays with a lot of confidence, and we all know this league is a lot about confidence. He has it.
“He’s been probably our most consistent and best player this season.”
A few more notes from the Mavs’ rout of the Nuggets:
1. Vince Carter bumps The Admiral: Few players have as much appreciation for NBA history as Carter, but he didn’t know he’d moved up another spot on the league’s all-time scoring list until he was informed after the game that he passed David Robinson. Carter now ranks 33rd in NBA history with 20,794 points and is likely to pass Hall of Famers Bob Pettit and Walt Bellamy by the end of the season. “That is pretty cool to be a part of history,” Carter said. “I remember, I don’t even know how many years ago it was when they announced the 50 greatest, but to go through your career and pass people that were a part of that, that’s a great feeling in itself. You can say you’re passing people that were legends, Hall of Famers. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
2. Big D in Dallas: It’s no longer noteworthy when the Mavericks hold a team under 100 points. But to limit the league’s top-scoring team to 84 points on 35.7 percent shooting is pretty impressive, even with the Nuggets missing Danilo Gallinari and Nene. “Dallas has turned into an incredibly good defensive team,” Denver coach George Karl said. “I think we’re a pretty good offensive team and we couldn’t find many things.”
3. Jason Kidd finds range: Kidd scored a season-high 13 points, shooting 4-of-6 from 3-point range. It was only his second double-digit point total of the season. He scored 12 points in the Dec. 26 loss, when he was 4-of-8 from 3-point range. “With the minutes being down and being able to get back in better shape, I feel good,” Kidd said. “I had a couple of airballs the last game, so we’re getting better. My goal was to make one in the second half.”
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