Nowitzki scored a club-record 29 of his 40 points during a frantic fourth-quarter comeback and the Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz 96-85 on Tuesday night.
Nowitzki broke the franchise record of 24 points in any quarter set by Mark Aguirre against Denver on March 24, 1984.
"It was an ugly game," Nowitzki said. "We couldn't get anything going for three quarters. We were slow. We were looking for a spark offensively and I was able to do that tonight."
Dallas was down 72-56 after Utah's Wes Matthews hit a layup with 9:51 left. The Mavericks later trailed by 13 before Nowitzki's three-point play triggered a 19-6 run capped by his layup with 2:41 remaining to tie it at 83.
Nowitzki's short jumper on Dallas' next possession put the Mavericks in front for good, 85-83 with 2:05 left.
Carlos Boozer's basket with 3:49 to play had given the Jazz an 83-78 edge, but Utah wouldn't score again until Boozer's dunk with 35 seconds remaining.
Nowitzki left to a standing ovation with 28 seconds to play.
After three quarters, the Mavericks managed 52 points and were shooting 32 percent from the floor.
But in the final quarter, Nowitzki took an aggressive approach, driving to the basket on almost every possession. He went 7 for 8 from the field, hit all 14 free throws and pulled down five rebounds.
"We just kept feeding him," Dallas' Shawn Marion said. "He had it going. He was unstoppable."
The NBA record for points in a fourth quarter is Wilt Chamberlain's 31 for Philadelphia on March 2, 1962 against the New York Knicks. The mark for points in any quarter is 33 shared by San Antonio's George Gervin (April 9, 1978) and Denver's Carmelo Anthony (Dec. 10, 2008).
"Twenty-five years in this, I've seen a lot of amazing things happen," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "To be honest, it wasn't looking great, but we just needed a couple good things to happen offensively for us."
Jason Kidd had 19 points -- five on 3-pointers -- for the Mavericks (3-1).
Nowitzki did most of his fourth-quarter damage against Okur. Utah coach Jerry Sloan wanted to use the quicker Boozer to defend Nowitzki down the stretch, but Boozer was saddled with five fouls.
"Obviously, there wasn't anything we were able to do with Nowitzki," Sloan said. "He was sensational. He made every basket and got to the free throw line, but the most important thing he did was he was able to take the ball to the basket."
Nowitzki went 12 for 22 from the field, 15 for 16 from the foul line, and added 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Dallas was able to follow up on victories over the Lakers and Clippers in a two-game weekend trip to Los Angeles with its first home win.
Williams had 12 third-quarter points as the Jazz ended the quarter with a 22-6 spurt for a 67-52 lead before Utah's collapse down the stretch.
"It's tough, because we were up by 15 with 8 minutes to go," Boozer said. "The next thing you know it was free throw, free throw, free throw, free throw."
Utah was up 37-35 after a tough first half for both offenses. The Jazz shot 34 percent from the field and the Mavericks hit 32 percent in the opening 24 minutes.
- F Drew Gooden (right rib cage muscle) is out for Dallas.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had no comment on claims that Gooden made insensitive comments to a Clippers fan after Saturday night's game. The fan, actor and comic Chris Wylde, was heckling the Mavericks bench throughout the game.
- Cuban also declined to comment on developmental coach Popeye Jones' DWI charge on Sunday night in a Dallas suburb. Jones was not in the arena for Tuesday night's game.
- Kyle Korver (left knee) and C.J. Miles (left thumb) are out for Utah.
- Nowitzki has 20 or more points in 29 straight games.