Dirk Nowitzki hit a key 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds to play and finished with 23 points to help the Dallas Mavericks beat the trade-depleted Charlotte Bobcats 95-90 on Thursday night.
Jason Terry had 26 points for the Mavericks, 10-0 against the Bobcats.
Emeka Okafor had a season-high 27 points and 17 rebounds, and Raymond Felton added 16 points for Charlotte. The Bobcats have lost five straight.
The Bobcats were short-handed after the trade Wednesday that sent Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns for Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary. The Charlotte newcomers are expected to make their Bobcats debuts Saturday night at home against Detroit.
Dallas was up 90-89 lead when Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 28.3 seconds left. Terry added two foul shots with 19.4 left for the final margin.
Terry’s short jumper triggered a 12-2 fourth-quarter spurt, with Nowitzki’s 3-pointer ending it as Dallas built an 86-80 edge with 5:53 remaining. But the Bobcats answered with an 8-2 run, capped by Ryan Hollins’ dunk with 3:09 left, to tie it at 88.
Terry’s two free throws with 2:54 remaining put Dallas in front for good, 90-88.
Nowitzki had only nine points at halftime, but the former league MVP heated up in the third quarter, scoring eight straight during one early stretch.
The young Bobcats kept up the pressure while the Mavericks went 4 minutes without a third-quarter field goal until Kidd hit a 3-pointer with 1:05 that pulled Dallas to 3-72. The score was even at 74 entering the final quarter.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said before the game that he was worried about an inspired start by the undermanned Bobcats. Charlotte hit 10 of its first 18 field-goal attempts and the game was tied at 26 heading into the second quarter.
Okafor had a double-double with 4 minutes left in the half and the Bobcats carried a 54-53 lead into the intermission behind Okafor’s 17 points and 11 rebounds.