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Playing their first games with the Mavericks, Brendan Haywood scored all seven of his points in the first half and DeShawn Stevenson played five scoreless minutes.
Inserted into the starting lineup, Butler seemed out of sync with the other Mavericks early on, with Kidd noticeably directing him around on one play before he missed his first shot from the right elbow. A handful of possessions later, Butler was responsible for Nowitzki getting a second early foul as he telegraphed a pass that Thabo Sefolosha picked off and Nowitzki fouled him to prevent a fast break.
Butler made up for it with a 19-foot jumper to put Dallas back on top and start a 14-2 run that Haywood finished with his first basket, an out-of-control bucket inside that made it 23-12. Butler and Haywood had 13 of the Mavericks' 19 points while Nowitzki was out.
Nowitzki returned and converted a three-point play to give Dallas a 33-21 lead with 8:58 to go before halftime, but Oklahoma City rallied back by going 5 for 5 on 3-pointers the rest of the half. Harden's 3 from the left side put the Thunder up 56-54 at the half.
NOTES: Even without the foul trouble, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle had hoped to trim down Nowitzki's average of 37.7 minutes per game. He averaged the same playing time last season but 36 minutes each of the previous two seasons. "I'd like to get his minutes a little bit down," Carlisle said. "On average, he's at 37 and change, which isn't that much. But again, a minute or two here and there always helps." He played 36 minutes. ... Oklahoma City followed its lowest scoring first quarter of the season (16 points) with its highest scoring period of the season (40). ... Stevenson became the first Dallas player to wear No. 92. His usual No. 2 jersey was taken by Kidd.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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