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The head-to-head point guard battle rarely materialized as the Mavs went with other defenders against Paul. A highlight came early in the second half when Paul stole the ball from Nowitzki, then used a behind-the-back dribble to get free from Kidd on his way to scooping in a layup. He turned several more steals into layups in the fourth quarter, threatening his career-high of nine steals, which also came against Dallas.
Notes: Paul came in hitting 87 percent of his free throws, but missed 3 of 6 in the first half. ... Dallas' Josh Howard missed his third straight game with a shoulder injury. Coach Rick Carlisle said there's no update on his status. ... During the second quarter, Dallas led 16-4 in points in the paint. New Orleans won that category 38-28.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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