DALLAS -- Kurt Rambis had seen his young Minnesota Timberwolves unravel many times late in tight games.
On Friday night, the suddenly surging Timberwolves were the ones who made the key plays in the fourth quarter.
With Dirk Nowitzki not starting after he was late for a pregame shootaround, rookie Jonny Flynn scored 19 points and Minnesota snapped a 13-game losing streak against Dallas, beating the Mavericks 117-108.
Minnesota, which led by as much as 13 in the second half, ended the game on a 13-2 run in the final 2:14 after the Mavericks had stormed back to grab the lead.
"That was the point where in the past our guys would start to disappear," said Rambis, in his first season as the Timberwolves' coach. "Dallas turned up its defense and the pressure started to bother us. You've just go to keep your head up, keep doing the right things and hopefully it'll work out for you."
The Mavericks led 106-104 when the Timberwolves went on their game-ending push.
Flynn drove for a layup to put Minnesota ahead for good, 109-107 with 1:39 remaining. After Dallas' Erick Dampier hit one of two free throws, Corey Brewer was fouled by Nowitzki on a 3-point attempt and hit all three foul shots with 1:07 left. Wayne Ellington clinched it with a 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 115-108 with 32.3 seconds remaining.
"I just think we've matured as a team," Flynn said. "We are just starting to find ourselves."
Nowitzki, who scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds, entered the game with 6:48 left in the first quarter. The last time the nine-time All-Star played in a reserve role was against the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 14, 1999, his second year in the NBA.
Josh Howard started in Nowitzki's place. Nowitzki said after the game that all players need to be held accountable.
"I was almost 30 minutes late," Nowitzki said. "That was a distraction and it's my fault."
Dallas has given up at least 100 points in each of its past five games. Minnesota shot 54 percent from the floor and hit 12 of 22 from long range.
"We need to dig down and find some pride," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's as simple as that."
Minnesota led 102-92 after Hollins hit a jumper with 7:23 left.
The Mavericks went on a 14-2 run over the next 4:48 to take their first lead since early in the third quarter.
Nowitzki connected on a pair of free throws to tie the game at 104 with 3:01 remaining, and Kidd hit two more foul shots to give Dallas the lead.
Dallas' lead was short lived as Brewer hit a 3-pointer to give the Timberwolves a 107-106 lead.
Minnesota beat the Mavericks for the first time since Jan. 4, 2006.
"It is a good win against a playoff caliber team," Flynn said. "We held them off during that great run and came away with the win."
Minnesota, which ended a nine-game road slide, outscored Dallas 32-19 in the third quarter to lead 89-80 heading into the fourth.
Love made a reverse layup that extended Minnesota's lead to 85-73. Carlisle called time out after that, and the crowd began booing.
The Timberwolves stretched their advantage to 87-74 shortly after that.
Minnesota's previous two victories were against the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. The Timberwolves also ended a 12-game skid against teams over .500 with their win over the Southwest Division-leading Mavericks.
- Dampier returned to the starting lineup after missing the team's previous game Wednesday night with a left knee injury.
- Timberwolves guard Ramon Sessions was called for a flagrant foul 1 with 6:50 left when he walloped Beaubois on a drive to the basket.
- Nowitzki spoke to the American Airlines Center crowd just before the game to promote next weekend's All-Star festivities in Dallas, but he did not acknowledge being out of the starting lineup.