DALLAS (AP) – The Dallas Mavericks have been quite defensive while defending their first NBA title.

There was a big hole in the middle and plenty of questions about how drastically it would affect the Mavericks when they let stalwart defender Tyson Chandler go after last season.

But Dallas (21-13), which also didn’t re-sign gritty defender DeShawn Stevenson, goes into the All-Star break as one of the league’s top defenses.

The Mavericks lead the NBA in holding opposing teams to a .416 shooting percentage. They are fourth allowing just under 91 points a game. Those numbers are better than their championship season.

Owner Mark Cuban says he really didn’t have any idea what to expect. He says his Mavericks have a better record so far than he thought they would.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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