Sacramento led for much of the night, but the Mavericks were 9-of-17 from the field in the fourth quarter and received 11 points from forward Dirk Nowitzki to pull out the win. Nowitzki led the Mavericks (2-2) with 23 points and Terry added 15. Jerry Stackhouse finished with 17 points and Devin Harris had 11.
The game featured the return of former New Mexico State men's coach Reggie Theus, who went 41-23 during his two years in Las Cruces and led the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament this past March before signing on with the Kings.
Mavericks All-Star Josh Howard was ejected after delivering a forearm to the back of Sacramento center Brad Miller's neck. He also pushed Miller, who had shoved Dallas guard Devin Harris to the ground.
Sacramento took a 99-98 lead with 11 seconds left on two free throws by John Salmons after three lead changes and six ties in the final quarter.
"We did some good things tonight," Terry said. "We're still trying to get the kinks out and get some new people involved in what we are doing. But we made some strides tonight."
Dallas outrebounded Sacramento 44-29 and was 31-of-37 from the free-throw line. Sacramento missed 14-of-42 from the line.
Mike Bibby scored 21 points to lead five Kings in double figures. Forward Ron Artest added 19 points, Kevin Martin had 17, Brad Miller 16 and Salmons chipped in 10.
"We did some good things and we can build on those," Theus said. "We were the worst rebounding team in the NBA last year and got beat tonight. We also need to hit our free throws. This was a good game for us. We got people some needed work and they responded."
Sacramento led 25-18 after the first quarter and 46-44 at halftime. The Kings shot 55 percent in the first quarter and received 11 points from Martin and 10 from Bibby to lead the way in the opening 24 minutes.