SAN ANTONIO — The Battle of Texas got off to a bruising start.
Tim Duncan had 31 points and 13 rebounds Saturday and the San Antonio Spurs overcame the loss of Derek Anderson to beat the Dallas Mavericks, 94-78, in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Mavericks' Juwan Howard was ejected late in the first half for a flagrant foul on Anderson, who suffered a separated right shoulder and could be sidelined for the rest of the playoffs.
As Anderson drove and jumped for the basket, Howard swung his arm into the former Clipper's side. Anderson landed on his shoulder and hobbled off the court grimacing and cradling his arm.
Howard said it was not intentional and that he apologized to Anderson.
"Let's not get this twisted, because I am very hurt by what has happened," Howard said, adding that the two have been friends since college. "Derek was driving to the basket and I went for the basketball."
He said he later found out that Anderson was badly hurt.
"I went over and asked if I could see him, and he wanted to see me too," Howard said. "With Derek and I being good friends, I saw him and apologized to him. . . . One thing he asked me to do was pray for him, which is the least I can do."
Howard said he didn't know if he would be suspended.
"It is in David Stern's and Russ Granik's hands," Howard said. "If they check my history and background, they will see that I'm not capable of doing anything to hurt opponents on the floor."
The Spurs, meanwhile, are holding out hope that Anderson will be back.
"We lose a big part of our team on a stupid foul that happened with two seconds left on the clock," Duncan said. "Of course it angers us. But what can you do?
"Hopefully, it will be a speedy recovery. Hopefully it's not as bad as they think it is."
Both Spur Coach Gregg Popovich and Maverick owner Mark Cuban said they thought the foul was unintentional.
"Juwan Howard is not the type of kid that would do that on purpose," Popovich said. "It was nothing personal, it just happened."
Duncan scored 20 points in the first half to help the Spurs take a 47-34 lead. In the last three minutes of the half, Duncan made two layups, a tip-in and two free throws.
Dallas' 11 points in the first quarter and 23 points in the second were playoff lows for the franchise, as was the 34-point first half.
Steve Nash missed all four of his shots in the first half and never got off a shot in the second. Dirk Nowitzki missed all five of his first-half shots and finished with nine points.
Antonio Daniels replaced Anderson in the second half and made his second and third three-point baskets to finish with 13 points.
"I thought we did a great job of keeping our composure together," Duncan said.
Duncan sparked a 14-2 run in the third quarter to give the Spurs a 68-46 lead. During the run, the Mavericks' Calvin Booth picked up his fifth foul, while Nowitzki got his fourth. Howard Eisley also had four fouls.
San Antonio increased its lead to 76-51 on Steve Kerr's long jumper with less than five seconds to play in the quarter.
The Mavericks cut the lead to 13 late in the fourth quarter on two baskets by Greg Buckner and a jumper and three-point basket by Eduardo Najera, but could come no closer.
Michael Finley led the Mavericks with 17 points, and Howard Eisley had 16.
David Robinson added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs. He also had four fouls.
Anderson, who averaged 15.5 points in the regular season and 11 points in the first round of the playoffs, scored six points before he was injured.
The Spurs won three of four regular-season games against the Mavericks.