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James Harden has OKC up at half, 55-52

5/25/2011

DALLAS -- Oklahoma City is following a similar script to its Game 2 victory at the AAC -- excellent bench play sparked by sixth man James Harden. The bearded one has 16 points and the Thunder have the halftime lead by three, 55-52.

The OKC bench has 26 points, halfway to their 50-point total in Game 2. The Thunder have needed the contributions. Kevin Durant has 13 points but has taken just seven shots, one in the second quarter. Russell Westbrook has taken 15 shots, making six, and also has 13 points.

Still, the Mavs can't be entirely disappointed despite surely wanting to have demoralized the Thunder by now. So while there are negative signs -- OKC's bench scoring, the Thunder winning the rebounding battle again and Mavs center Tyson Chandler being too emotional and with three fouls -- there are also positive signs for the Mavs.

They overcame sluggish shooting -- 37.5 percent in the first quarter -- and already have three players in double figures.

Dirk Nowitzki has 13 points, J.J. Barea came off the bench for 11 and Shawn Marion has 10. Jason Terry is another positive. He took just three shots in the first half and made all of them, two from beyond the arc, for eight points.

The Mavs know they hold the experience card and they've already used it in this series. They know if they keep it close they have the advantage in crunch time.