Nowitzki eclipsed Celtics legend Larry Bird for 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Nowitzki (21,798) needed only 10 points to tie Bird (21,791), and is now only 15 points away from matching Gary Payton for 24th.
Caron Butler led Dallas with 20 points. Tyson Chandler finished with 16 points and Jason Kidd supplied 13 points and 12 assists for the Mavericks, who have won four straight.
Dwight Howard scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed 23 rebounds for the Magic, who have dropped four in a row. J.J. Redick supplied 21 points and Jameer Nelson added 19 points and six assists in the loss.
Ahead by five, 85-80, the Mavericks used a 8-1 just inside the seven minute mark to extend their advantage to double digits. Jason Terry started the run with jumper, and after a Nowitzki fade away shot, Chandler connected on a powerful dunk at 5:46 to put Dallas up 11.
Redick hit on a technical free throw at the five minute mark and Terry hit a floating jumper on the far end to cap the run that put the Mavericks up 12, 93-81, their largest of the game.
After Nowitzki hit two from the line to keep the Dallas lead at eight, 97-89, Howard added two free throws and the newly acquired Jason Richardson knocked down a deep three inside the final minute to make it a one possession game.
The Mavericks called a timeout with 56.6 seconds left and out of the break Terry hit a mid range jumper to extend the Dallas lead to 99-94.
The teams traded trips to the line, but after Richardson made another shot from long range the Dallas lead was down to 101-99. The Mavericks made four from the line as the Magic missed two from long range to end the game.
Dallas made 5-of-9 from beyond the arc in the first, en route to a 27-21 lead after one. Orlando opened the second on a 12-2 run to take a 33-29 lead, but the Mavericks shot 50 percent from the field in the quarter, on their way to a 49-45 halftime advantage.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth battle. Dallas was up 64-59 just over the seven minute mark, but a Redick driving layup and Nelson three tied the game at 64.
A Chandler dunk at 5:35 reclaimed the lead for the Mavericks, and Orlando would tie the game three more times down the stretch. However, after a Howard hook shot at 2:35 put the game at 70-70, Chandler added a layup and three- point conversion to start a 6-2 run for Dallas to end the quarter. The Mavericks were up 76-72 entering the final stanza.
Terry finished with 13 points and five assists and DeShawn Stevenson supplied 11 points in the win…Richardson scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in his Magic debut, and Hedo Turkoglu finished with nine points and eight assists…Howard recorded more offensive rebounds (8) then the entire Mavericks team (4), and finished his third consecutive game with 20-plus rebounds…Orlando made 12-of-12 from the charity stripe.