DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points and the Dallas Mavericks withstood a fourth-quarter meltdown against lowly Orlando on Wednesday night, beating the Magic 107-102 for their third straight win since an embarrassing home loss to Cleveland.
The Mavericks lost most of a 22-point lead in the second half, letting Orlando get within one in the final minute before finishing off their only opponent with a losing record over eight games.
The challenging stretch started with a 33-point loss to LeBron James’ Cavaliers and ends with consecutive games against defending champion San Antonio.
Elfrid Payton had a triple-double with 15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, but missed an open jumper that could have put the Magic ahead with 30 seconds left after they trailed 70-48 early in the third quarter.
Monta Ellis had 21 points for the Mavericks, who beat Orlando for the seventh straight time.
Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 19 in their sixth consecutive loss.
Oladipo hit a jumper with a foot on the 3-point line to get the Magic to 104-102 with 17 seconds left. After Devin Harris missed a free throw to give Orlando one more chance to tie, Oladipo missed the rim on a 3.
Rajon Rondo had nine points and 11 assists and just missed his second straight double-double in those categories after going nearly three months without one, all the way back to his second game following the trade with Boston.
One of Rondo’s assists was a backward pass high over his head from the backcourt to Ellis, who caught the ball in stride on the other side of midcourt for an easy layup when Dallas was building a 17-point lead by shooting 69 percent in the first half.
Rondo also found Nowitzki several times, and the 7-foot German was 5 of 6 from 3-point range. He scored at least 20 points in consecutive games for the first time since late January.
Orlando was the short-handed team in this game, with Tobias Harris and Dewayne Dedmon sitting out a night after injuring their left ankles in a loss at Houston. Willie Green missed his fifth straight game because of back spasms.
Maurice Harkless, who scored 18 points, had back-to-back dunks during a 14-3 third-quarter run that got Orlando back in the game. All five Magic starters scored in double figures.
Magic: Coach James Borrego said he didn’t think the ankle injuries for Harris and Dedmon were long-term issues. … Kyle O’Quinn got a technical for arguing when he was called for a foul against Amare Stoudemire. There were five technicals when Dallas beat Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
Mavericks: Nowitzki moved up two spots on the NBA’s career list for 3-pointers to 17th with 1,561. Mike Miller started the day two ahead of Nowitzki and made one for Brooklyn. Miller is now tied with Glen Rice at No. 18 with 1,559.
Magic: Home against Portland on Friday.
Mavericks: Finale of five-game homestand Friday against Memphis.
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