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Manu, ex-Wizards play prominent roles

Tim Duncan had 12 first-half points for the Spurs. Erick Dampier, who started at center for the Mavs, didn't score but grabbed five rebounds. Matthew Emmons/US Presswire

DALLAS -- Josh Howard was the Mavs' hero in last season's series against the Spurs, which Manu Ginobili had to watch while nursing an injured ankle.

How times have changed for the I-35 rivals.

Ginobili is healthy and playing like a Hall of Famer. Howard has been shipped off to Washington, with the players the Mavs got in return filling key roles.

Ginobili kept the Spurs in the game during the first half, filling it up for 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

Ex-Wizards Caron Butler (13 points) and Brendan Haywood (10 points, four rebounds) were excellent complements to dominant Dirk Nowitzki (19 points, six rebounds).

Mavs 50, Spurs 45 at the half.