Dirk Nowitzki scores 25 as Mavs hang on to beat lowly Magic
Rajon Rondo tossed a pass backward high over his head and Monta Ellis caught it in stride for an easy basket to help Dallas build a big lead on Orlando.
Other high-risk plays didn't work quite as well and kept the Mavericks from having an easy night during what was supposed to be a short break in a difficult stretch of their schedule.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points and the Mavericks withstood a fourth-quarter meltdown to beat the lowly Magic 107-102 on Wednesday night, their third straight win since an embarrassing home loss to Cleveland.
Rondo almost had a triple-double of the wrong kind, getting nine points and 11 assists but committing a season-high eight turnovers as the Mavericks piled up 20 in all.
''Some of the things were just a little speculative on everybody's part tonight, not just him,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. ''He had a bunch of turnovers, I know. We've got a bunch of experienced guys that know better. And we've got to just clean it up.''
Orlando rookie Elfrid Payton did have a triple-double - his first - with 15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. But he missed an open jumper that could have put the Magic ahead with 30 seconds left after they trailed 70-48 early in the third quarter.
''I think we could all say maybe he gets to the rim,'' Orlando coach James Borrego said. ''They gave him that shot, he pulled up, he shoots it with confidence, we live with it. And we trust him in that situation. This won't be the last time he's there.''
Ellis had 21 points for the Mavericks, who beat Orlando for the seventh straight time while playing their only opponent with a losing record over eight games. The challenging stretch started with a 33-point loss to LeBron James' Cavaliers and ends with consecutive games against defending champion San Antonio.
Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 19 points in their sixth consecutive loss.
After Payton's miss, Oladipo hit a jumper with a foot on the 3-point line to get the Magic to 104-102 with 17 seconds left. After Devin Harris missed a free throw to give Orlando one more chance to tie it, Oladipo missed the rim on a 3.
''If I would have had half the turnovers I had tonight, they probably wouldn't have been in the game,'' Rondo said. ''But those guys turned us over and made shots and they stuck with it.''
Dallas had everybody available for just the second time since Amare Stoudemire was added exactly a month ago. Al-Farouq Aminu returned after missing two games with a left shoulder sprain, and Harris and J.J. Barea played after missing practice a day earlier because of illness. Harris left Wednesday's game against Oklahoma City early.
Orlando was the short-handed team for this game, with Tobias Harris and Dewayne Dedmon sitting out a night after injuring their left ankles in a loss at Houston. Willie Green missed his fifth straight game because of back spasms. But the Magic still came back from 22 down early in the third quarter, and from 15 down early in the fourth.
''I think it shows a lot about the guys on this team,'' said Maurice Harkless, who had 18 points, including back-to-back dunks during a 14-3 run in the third quarter that got Orlando back in the game.
Magic: Borrego said he didn't think the ankle injuries for Harris and Dedmon were long-term issues. ... Kyle O'Quinn got a technical for arguing when he was called for a foul against Stoudemire. There were five technicals when Dallas beat the Thunder on Wednesday.
Mavericks: Nowitzki was 5 of 6 from long range and moved up two spots on the NBA's career list for 3-pointers to 17th with 1,561. Mike Miller started the day two ahead of Nowitzki and made one for Brooklyn. Miller is now tied with Glen Rice at No. 18 with 1,559.