Stackhouse was ejected at the end of the third quarter for his second flagrant foul, but Nowitzki stepped up with a season-high 38 points, including two free throws with 10.2 seconds remaining, to help the Dallas Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz 108-105 on Tuesday night.
"More than anything, I think Stack really set a great example for us, how he played hard and he left it all out there," Nowitzki said. "That's why we have him.
"You know, he's a big key of why we went to the finals last year. He's probably one of our toughest guys out there and that (the flagrant foul calls) definitely jump-started us."
The 7-foot German, who has averaged more than 30 points in his last six games, scored 25 in the second half as the Mavs avenged a 101-79 loss to Utah on Dec. 11, when they shot a season-low 37.7 percent.
"I think in the second half we turned it around a little bit," Nowitzki said. "In this building they play so hard, you have to match their physical contact and I think we try to get to basket, get to foul line, guys did a great job in the second half."
The Mavs had no trouble this time, as they made 53 percent of their field goals and handed the Jazz just their third home loss of the season.
Stackhouse was kicked out after getting called for his second flagrant foul. He also was hit with a technical in the first half for an argument with Utah coach Jerry Sloan.
"It's personal. They don't like me and I don't like them," Stackhouse said.
"(Utah) is very physical, but tonight we matched their aggression and came out on top with the win," said Terry. "We had more emphasis on being aggressive tonight, taking what the defense gives you and attacking."
The Mavs, who have the NBA's best record at 28-8, bounced back after falling 101-98 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, breaking their 13-game win streak that began the game after the last loss to Utah.
"I was able to find some open looks. There will be some nights where the basket is a little bigger and you feel great about yourself," said Nowitzki, who was 12-of-18 from the floor and 13-of-15 from the line.
The Jazz, who were led by Carlos Boozer's 29 points, shot just 8-of-21 in the final period after hitting 57 percent to that point.
"We just have lapses sometimes. We feel like we'll win when we execute our type of basketball. I think we got away from that a little bit," Utah's Deron Williams said.
The Jazz led 94-91 on Derek Fisher's 3-pointer to beat the shot clock. But Terry's free throws capped an 11-3 run as the Mavs held the Jazz without a field goal for more than four minutes to take a 102-97 lead with 2:38 to play.
Utah had three chances to draw even in the last minute after Howard missed a layup and two tip attempts, Devin Harris threw a bad pass and Nowitzki inexplicably drove for a layup and missed before the final buzzer.
"A dumb play," Nowitzki said.
But the Jazz could not convert any of their last-minute 3-point attempts, including Mehmet Okur's desperation turnaround shot when Utah inbounded with just 0.3 seconds to play.
"Have you ever eaten red beans and rice? Okur was the rice and we wanted to be the beans and be all over him. He's a great shooter. We wanted to stick with him as close as we could," Mavs coach Avery Johnson said.
Okur and Matt Harpring each scored 14 points for the Jazz, who lost for the first time this season at home when leading at halftime.
With 32 seconds left in the first quarter, Stackhouse caught Harpring square in the jaw and dropped him in an attempt to clear the ball. The officials immediately called a flagrant foul on Stackhouse.
Stackhouse then got a technical foul after he jawed with Sloan near midcourt.
Stackhouse, who had 11 points, was ejected with 7.8 seconds left in the third quarter when he flagrantly fouled Jarron Collins on his way to the hoop.
"It's just another team that I can be passionate against. They're going to hold and grab try to play a fake physical game," Stackhouse said.
Stackhouse and the Jazz have a history of fighting. In 1996, Stackhouse grabbed former Utah guard Jeff Hornacek by the throat and hit his face at least two times. After a game in 2005, Stackhouse and Utah's Kirk Snyder scuffled in a hallway near the Jazz team bus.
Though Utah trailed by seven early, Boozer led the Jazz to a 53-45 halftime lead. Twice, Boozer stole the ball and drove down the court for a dunk.
The Mavs beat San Antonio 90-85, lost the tight game to the Lakers and beat the Jazz on a three-game stretch against some of the Western Conference's best teams.
"It was a tough physical game. Both teams were playing some hungry basketball," Johnson said. "I like the way our team hung in there through a lot of adversity."
- The Mavs are just 4-6 when their opponents score 100 or more points.
- Johnson also got a technical foul just after halftime.
- Dallas is 23-0 when shooting the same or better than its opponent. Even before his second flagrant foul, Stackhouse was booed by the sellout crowd each time he touched the ball.