Notes on Thursday's games in the National Basketball Association ...

Mavericks, Ascending. Who are the Tom Brady and Peyton Manning of the NBA? We have to confess we've never thought about it ... we barely care who the Tom Brady and Peyton Manning of the NFL are. But evidently there are bloggers currently wrestling with this very important question. The Dallas Mavericks Fanhouse comes to the conclusion today that it's Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki. So if that's the case, then Thursday's game between the Lakers and Mavericks must have been the NBA's version of the AFC Championship Game. And Josh Howard must be, um, Marvin Harrison? What? Forget we mentioned any of this. What we do know is that Jason Terry had a season-high 13 assists as Dallas took a 114-95 win over the Lakers on Thursday. Howard led Dallas (33-8) with 29 points. The Mavs' only loss in their past 20 games came to LA., on January 7th.

Waiting For Godot Shaq. The Heat are really missing Shaquille O'Neal, but it looks like he won't be back until at least Sunday. So for now they make do with what they have, almost blowing a 16-point lead on Thursday before prevailing over the Pacers 104-101. Dwyane Wade scored 33 points for Miami. Indiana had only 10 players in uniform because the new players they acquired in a trade with the Warriors — Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod — are not yet ready to play.