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On the strength of Dirk Nowitzki's 21 points and a second quarter surge, the Mavs lead 55-48 at the half of game one of the western conference finals.

Nowitzki has absolutely worn out whichever defender the Thunder have thrown at him. When Kendrick Perkins checked him, Dirk drove to the bucket. When Serge Ibaka drew the assignment, Dirk shot over him. Nick Collison got abused as well, with Nowitzki scoring a game high 21 points.

The Mavs trailed 27-20 at the end of the first quarter, but improved defense and a pair of offensive spurts allowed them to open a seven point lead at the break. The Thunder led by nine early in the second quarter, but the Mavs put together a 7-0 run to tighten things up.

With 4:26 left in the second, Rick Carlisle received a technical foul, after Sean Marion got poked in the eye and fell to the ground. The Mavs responded with a 13-0 run punctuated by a transition layup from Nowitzki when he was fouled. He made the bucket at the American Airlines Center went wild.

The Mavs defense tightened up in the second quarter as well. After allowed in the Thunder to shoot 61% in the first quarter, that number cut in half to 30% in the second.

Kevin Durant leads the Thunder with 17 points.

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