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Updated: November 20, 2003, 9:47 AM ET
By By Terry Brown | NBA Insider
Detroit Pistons: If the sprained left knee didn't stop Ben Wallace last year, then neither will the twisted left ankle or sprained left wrist this year. "It's been a little rough, but it ain't nothing I can't live with," Wallace said in the Detroit News. And that was before he ran into Shaq and had to have his collarbone X-rayed before having his back wrenched later in the game. "This kid is just incredible," coach Larry Brown said. "He scored with his left hand, he made a couple of jump shots. I am just so proud of him. Karl Malone is a pretty darn good defender, and Ben gets 15 boards, five blocks and 12 points. He keeps getting better and better."

Nowitzki
Nowitzki
Dallas Mavericks: Tim Duncan may have all the hardware that goes with all of his accolades, but there's one thing Mavs owner Marc Cuban believes he doesn't have on Dirk Nowitzki. "We forget that Dirk is 25," Cuban said in the Dallas Morning News. "There's nobody that young who is set to carry his team for the next 10 years. Tim's got upside. But I think Dirk has even more upside." Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says that we shouldn't even be trying to compare the two, though. "Other people put categories on people," Pop said. "I just think he's a heck of a player. What they've accomplished in Dallas is in large part due to Dirk's development. You look at when he really started playing well, they have significantly improved their wins since then. That doesn't happen without Dirk being a very, very good performer."

Boston Celtics: Has Antoine Walker cursed the Celtics? "You play with a guy so long and then all of a sudden you're not with your right-hand man," Paul Pierce said in the Boston Herald. "It's like everything seemed like it turned into a 360-degree twirl. A lot of the focus is definitely on me. I'm going through my growing pains, just learning how can I make this team better. That's just something I'm still learning. I haven't quite figured it out yet, but I think in time it'll come." And it doesn't help when your team starts the season 5-6. "Teams are pretty much saying they're not going to let me beat them," Pierce continued. "They're saying if they lose, it's not going to be because of me. They're going to try to make other guys beat (them). I just have to start giving the other guys confidence to step up. The only way I'm going to be able to have big offensive nights is when I get other guys involved and open myself up. Teams understand that Antoine's not out there, so teams are coming at us like, `Paul's the only major threat,' when that's not true. But until the other guys earn that type of respect, it's going to be difficult for me night in and night out to try to have big scoring games."

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