Caron Butler added 19 points for the Mavericks, who extended their season-high winning streak to seven games. Jason Kidd had 13 points and nine rebounds in addition to two steals, which moved him past Maurice Cheeks into fourth place all-time. Kidd now has 2,311 for his career, one more than Cheeks.
Darren Collison had a career-high 35 points, while fellow rookie Marcus Thornton added 21 points off the bench, but the Hornets lost for the third time in four games.
Dallas led by as many as 25 and was still ahead by double-digits after a Nowitzki three-point play made it a 97-86 game with 6:05 to play. Then, with about 3 1/2 minutes to play, a Brendan Haywood layup had the Mavs up 101-92.
But Collison followed with a jumper and a three-pointer in quick succession to get the Hornets within four. However, neither team could crack the scoreboard on its next couple touches, and as the clock rolled under a minute, Nowitzki drained a turnaround, fall-away jumper for a 103-97 edge.
Butler stole the ball away from Collison on the Hornets' next possession and drove for a fastbreak layup, which missed. Haywood was there for the putback dunk, but appeared to slam it through as it was already inside the cylinder. However, no goaltending call was made and the bucket counted for a 105-97 lead with 47.2 seconds to play, effectively sealing the victory.
Kidd scored 10 points in the first quarter to help the Mavericks build a 35-24 advantage, and they continued to pull away in the second. Shawn Marion scored the final five points of a 10-run that put Dallas ahead 47-26 with over nine minutes left in the half, and the Mavericks took a 69-50 lead into the break.
Dallas' lead reached a game-high of 25 when Butler's layup made it 83-58 with 6:22 left in the third quarter, but New Orleans followed with the next 10 points to prevent the game from becoming a blowout. The Hornets were within 86-75 moving to the fourth.
Nowitzki had his streak of consecutive free throws made end at 43...Kidd recorded five assists but seven turnovers...Collison shot 15-of-21...Dallas shot 51.7 percent...Haywood finished with 12 points and Jason Terry added 11 for the Mavs...Peja Stojakovic had 16 points for the Hornets, while David West ended with 10 points, eight boards and six assists.