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

• It's Just A Flesh Wound. Here's what we love about the NBA, summed up in one tidy AP paragraph: "Toronto's Morris Peterson was told not to switch off Josh Howard and cover Dirk Nowitzki during a timeout before the decisive play. But Peterson did, allowing Howard to make a wide-open layup to give Dallas the lead." We saw this before in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we think. King: Guards, make sure the prince doesn't leave this room until I come and get him. Guard: Not to leave the room, even if you come and get him. King: No, no no, "until" I come and get him. Guard: Until you come and get him, we're not to enter the room .... Nowitzki had 38 points in the Mavericks' 97-96 win, the team's 17th in its past 18.


• Another New Face In Denver. Meet Steve Blake, a "pass first" point guard acquired by the Nuggets recently from Milwaukee, who played in his second game for Denver on Sunday. The opponent was the Trail Blazers, for whom Blake also played last season. But even though Blake still lives there, Portland discovered it didn't know him as well as it thought. He had a career-high 25 points on Sunday, and Allen Iverson had 32 points, to lead a 109-93 win. Blake was part of the trade that sent Earl Boykins to Milwaukee.

• More Useless Chris Webber News. OK, all we know for sure is that Chris Webber is out at Philadelphia. Last week the Free Press reported that he was as good as in with the Pistons, which may turn out to be false. Because now he's talking with the Lakers. But the strongest rumors have him going to the Magic. It all makes us long for the security of Brett Favre's retirement.