NEW YORK —The losing streak felt like “two or three months” to Dirk Nowitzki, so the Dallas Mavericks didn’t mind having to go a few extra minutes to end it.
Especially because they seemed headed for another loss for nearly all of regulation.
Nowitzki scored seven of his season-high 39 points in overtime and grabbed 15 rebounds, and the Mavericks snapped a five-game skid with a 124-114 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Josh Howard added season highs of 31 points and 14 rebounds. He had a pair of baskets in the extra session for the Mavericks (3-7), who were off to their worst start in a decade. They were down 15 in the first half and trailed for almost all the first 48 minutes, then tied it with a furious rally and didn’t allow a field goal in overtime.
“We just told ourselves stay with it and get some big stops and offensively keep attacking,” Nowitzki said. “We had to get off this losing streak, so whatever I had to do, the team told me to keep shooting and play aggressively.”
Nowitzki made a pair of free throws to open overtime, giving Dallas its first lead since it was 6-4. He followed with a jumper, and after a free throw by Brandon Bass, Nowitzki buried a 3-pointer, pumping his fists in the air after giving the Mavericks a 120-112 lead.
Howard followed with his two baskets, part of Dallas’ closing 19-2 run over the final 7:26. The Knicks were 0-for-14 after Quentin Richardson’s basket with 2:28 remaining in regulation that made it 112-105.
“We could have won the game,” Knicks forward Zach Randolph said. “We had a chance to win the game. But the ball won’t fall for us. There’s nights like this. We’ve just got to keep our head up and keep going.”
Jason Terry scored 16 of his 20 points after halftime for the Mavs, who avoided their first six-game skid since Feb. 29-March 9, 2000. Reserves James Singleton and Brandon Bass each added 12.
“We’ve been playing some close games and the fourth quarter has been a problem for us,” point guard Jason Kidd said. “This is a veteran group so nobody’s panicked. If we just stay together and understand that we’ve got to find a way answer that fourth quarter and tonight we did that.”
Randolph had 27 points and 18 rebounds in his eighth straight double-double for the Knicks, who were 0-for-9 in overtime and lost for the first time this season when scoring 100 points.
“We played well enough to win. We should have won in regulation and we didn’t,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We gave them a little hope. Nowitzki and Howard are very good basketball players. You’ve got to give them credit. At the same time, we blew our chances. I thought we played pretty well for a long time. The fourth, we were just hesitant a little bit.”
Richardson had 17 points and Chris Duhon added 16 points and 12 assists. Jamal Crawford also had 16 points.
The Mavs were down two midway through the fourth after scoring seven straight, but David Lee had a basket before Richardson nailed a 3-pointer to push it to 110-103 with 3 1/2 minutes to go. Dallas responded again to make it 112-110 on Nowitzki’s bucket with 1:27 remaining, and finally pulled even on Terry’s jumper with 38 seconds left.
After a couple of misses by Richardson, the Mavs called a timeout and got the ball to Terry, who was short on a jumper from the top of the key.
The Knicks made seven of their first eight shots and had an answer for every Dallas rally for most of the game. But the Mavs scored the final seven points of regulation, fighting for loose balls and crashing the boards in desperation.
“We knew we were better than how we were playing,” Terry said. “We watched the film and were giving great effort out there, balls just weren’t going our way. Tonight could have been the same situation. We get down seven in the last two minutes, but we banded together.”
Randolph made first seven shots and New York shot 60 percent in the first quarter, leading by as much as 13 before settling for a 35-26 advantage. The Knicks, pushing the pace at every opportunity, opened a 15-point cushion just under halfway through the second on Lee’s basket.
But with Wilson Chandler on the bench with a third foul, the Knicks had no answer for Nowitzki, who broke free for 13 points in the final 6:05 of the half as Dallas cut it to 64-57 at the break.