Terry had 29 points and a season-high 15 assists, and the Mavericks extended their team-record home winning streak to 22 games with a 103-98 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.
Nowitzki contributed 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Howard added 21 points to help the Mavericks overcome a six-point fourth-quarter deficit.
"This was one of the toughest of the year," Terry said. "Our energy wasn't where it needed to be, but in the fourth quarter, we came alive. It didn't look like we'd pull this off, but everybody dug deep."
Dallas has won 50 of 55 after losing its first four, moving to a league-best 50-9 record. The Mavericks, who became the sixth-fastest team to 50 wins in NBA history, haven't been beaten at home since a 92-83 defeat to the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 7.
"Having a record is always great," Nowitzki said. "It means you've done something that's never been done before. But we're not focused on the streaks. If we go 82-0, it doesn't mean anything if we don't win the championship. We know we have a lot of work to do until then."
The Magic would not go quietly, but they lost for the seventh time in their last eight games.
"There are no moral victories in the NBA," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "But as I told the team, I'm very proud of the way they played tonight. They played hard, we executed, we followed our game plan, tried to get the ball out of Nowitzki's hands a lot.
"Some of their guys stepped up and made shots. We had an opportunity to win in the final 30 seconds of the game. I don't think a lot of people thought we'd be in that position."
Orlando tied the score at 96 on Nelson's two free throws with 1:57 remaining, but Dallas answered with five straight points to take the lead for good, capped by Josh Howard's three-point play with 1:30 left.
Dallas clung to a 101-98 advantage with 28 seconds to play when Orlando's Darko Milicic got the ball in the paint, but Milicic lost possession on a shot attempt and Nowitzki collected the steal.
"We made a couple of turnovers down the stretch ... other than that we had a great chance of winning this game but came up short," Dwight Howard said.
Nowitzki added a 17-footer with 7.9 seconds left.
Orlando opened the fourth quarter with nine unanswered points, capped by Carlos Arroyo's three-point play with 9:30 left for an 81-75 lead.
The Mavericks fought back with a 12-3 run of their own, taking an 89-86 lead with 4:43 left on the second of consecutive 3-pointers by Nowitzki.
Dallas got an 18-point third quarter from Terry, including five 3-pointers, for a 75-72 advantage heading into the fourth. Terry made his first six shots of the third quarter -- which had 15 lead changes -- before missing a 3-pointer with five seconds to go.
"(Terry) was on it, not only making shots but kicking it out," Nowitzki said. "We need him to be aggressive. I think that opens up a lot of lanes for other guys if he's shooting well."
The Magic were on the second leg of a tough back-to-back, having lost 98-74 at San Antonio on Friday night. Orlando was playing its third game in four nights, all on the road.
The Magic took a 42-40 halftime lead on Turkoglu's layup with a second left. Dwight Howard had 14 points and nine rebounds in the first half.
- The Mavericks also got off to a Dallas has won the last nine meetings with Orlando.
- Mavericks swingman Devean George missed his seventh straight game due to a sprained ligament in his right knee. Coach Avery Johnson said George should be ready to practice sometime next week.
- Nowitzki missed a free throw in the second quarter, breaking a streak of 42 straight conversions.
- The Mavericks are the first team in NBA history with three winning streaks of 12 or more in a season, having already had 12- and 13-game runs. The Milwaukee Bucks (1970-71), Philadelphia 76ers (1980-81) and Los Angeles Lakers (1999-00) are the other teams with three winning streaks of 10 or more in a season.