Joy in Big D, misery in Minnesota

Updated: April 17, 2003, 6:18 PM ET
By Chad Ford
Could you hear the sense of relief in the Mavs voices Thursday night when word came that the Blazers -- not the Lakers -- would be their first-round opponent.

Whew!

"If you strive to get to the next level, you've got to beat the best," Mavs owner Mark Cuban told the Fort Worth Star Telegram. "You've got to beat Shaq [O'Neal] when he's at his best, you've got to beat Kobe [Bryant] when he's at his best."

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer

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