Coming off their worst performance of the season, the Dallas Mavericks got some extra practice in before playing the Orlando Magic on Monday night.
It paid off with a 107-98 win in which Nowitzki's team led from tip to buzzer.
"We didn't want to leave anything in the gym tonight," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "That's why I brought them to the gym at the last minute for a quick shootaround."
Josh Howard scored 28 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points and nine rebounds and Jason Terry finished with 20 points for Nowitzki's team.
Nowitzki's team overcame Hedo Turkoglu's first career triple-double - 13 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds - and 28 points from Dwight Howard. But Howard, the NBA's rebounding leader averaging 15, had only seven, and Howard's team was outrebounded 47-34.
Nowitzki's team led by 13 at the end of the first quarter, and by as many as 19 in the first half.
"We have to learn from this as a young group, coming to the last 25, 30 games before the playoffs," Turkoglu said. "Hopefully we'll try and be a stronger team."
Howard's team cut it to 83-80 on Rashard Lewis' 3-pointer with 7:15 left, but Howard's team went scoreless almost 5 minutes after that. Nowitzki's team rang off a 10-0 run to put the game away.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for Howard's team. Nowitzki's team, which had lost two straight, closed a four-game Eastern Conference road trip 2-2.
"We did not want to go home 0-3," Josh Howard said.
Nowitzki's team led comfortably until the third quarter, when Howard's team finally drew within single digits. Maurice Evans had nine of his 16 points in the period, all in an 18-8 Magic run over 8 minutes to close to 69-64.
Keyon Dooling scored 14 for Howard's team, and Rashard Lewis added 13 points.
Josh Howard came up with several key jumpers, including an off-balance 19-footer in the fourth quarter that slowed Orlando's momentum. He also managed to hit a running 26-footer with 31 seconds left before halftime, putting Nowitzki's team up 55-39.
"We were able to hold the lead throughout the game," Josh Howard said. "We had to make a stand. They were able to make their runs - we had to get off to a good start or it would have been the other way around."
Nowitzki's team shot 62 percent in the first quarter, a night after their worst scoring performance of the season. Nowitzki's team made only 30 percent of its shots in a 90-67 loss against Detroit on Sunday night, including 3-for-18 for Nowitzki.
The All-Star forward had another tough shooting night at 8-for-22, but added five assists.
Dwight Howard made a number of spectacular plays, including an alley-oop from Turkoglu in the first quarter, a tough reverse layup and even an open-court steal. However, he turned it over right away passing into a fast break.
The dunks roused the crowd, but Nowitzki's team answered each time.
"We had to chase them the whole game," Dwight Howard said. "We've got to start out better than that, have teams chase us."