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Mavs perform well enough to contend

Halfway point sees West's second seed overcome slow starts, dependence on Nowitzki

Updated: January 29, 2010, 12:01 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

The Jekyll-and-Hyde halves the Dallas Mavericks brought to Boston on Monday night told this club's story through the season's first 41 games.

At times, as witnessed in yet another sluggish start against the Celtics, the Mavericks are as confounding to their second-year coach as they are to their fans. They can appear offensively stagnant and defensively disinterested.

Other times, such as the rousing second half at Boston, Dallas can become a defensive thorn, an up-tempo, high-scoring ...

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